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Find People ...The Art of Skip Tracing ... How To Find The Missing

Updated on March 31, 2011

Where Does The Sun Set For Them?

The Art Of Skip Tracing

This is the Debt Collectors big secret. The Ace in the hole, that makes people say,: "How did you get my number?" This is the Hub that will tell you how.

I decided to explain this process because in my travels of my own life, I reached out for a friend I couldn't find easily. I found him...2 weeks too late...He had been killed on his motorcycle. He was my childhood friend who I loved very much. Now I will carry the guilt of being 2 weeks late...I never got to say hello or goodbye, and it's extremely upsetting to me...I doubt it will ever go away.

I was so overwhelmed in the month prior to his death, that I ran out of time, and missed him all together. The point is, I could have found him sooner, and not had to live with this guilt. He wouldn't want me to feel guilty like this, but I can't help own chaos in my life got in my way of finding him in time.

I can tell you this, it will never happen again. I have found most of my friends that I lost touch with, including the man who taught me in sales when I was 17 years old! It took me 2 hours to find him, by profiling him, and skip tracing each lead I came up with. When I called him, I had to leave a message for him, I couldn't speak with him immediately. Keeping in mind it had literally been 20 years since I had seen him.

I needed to find him because I didn't want him to die without knowing how much positive impact he had on my life. To me it was a race against time, because I knew he was like 60 plus years old, and I didn't know his health status.

Here's what I did. I began profiling him. I knew he was a photographer, but I didn't know exactly where. I knew he had lived in a particular town in Long Island, NY. That's where I started. I thought about him as a person, and what I could remember about him and set out on my journey to find him.

I started with the Photography Studios on the Island, in the area I remember him to be. I called at least 5, and the last one knew him! They said he had moved to Philadelphia, Pa., but knew nothing else. The profiling was very important in this case, because I had nothing else to go on yet. I wasn't even sure of the spelling of his last name either. I had to guess.

I got the Philly Phone records up on Yellow pages, and began thumbing through the Photography Studios in Philly. Sound crazy, needle in the haystack? Not really. I picked 5 names, that I felt he would be associated with. I picked the 1st, I thought he would be at, and it was busy. I called the next 5 to no avail, no one knew him. The first choice ended up being the one, and the girl knew him, and said she will get a message to him. Bingo, my profiling worked...Now I just hope he calls me back! lol

He did in fact call me back, with a thought of "Uh Oh, did I do something wrong?" lol...I told him I just wanted to make sure we were connected before time was up. I told him how much impact he had on my life, and it virtually kept me educated, and safe in the work force all these years. HIs training was the best, and the impression he left on me was permanent. He was sooo happy to hear from me, and we now stay in touch all the time.

Skip Tracing is not as hard as you think.

Here are some great sites to help you find people.

Click on "Free Public Records" at the top.

These 2 sites above are literally the portals to any information you could possibly need to find someone in any state, or international. They are my 2 favorite sites, and I use them daily for so many things. They connect internally to many other portals, state, fed., and local info.

My husband told me he wanted to find his friend who he Airbrushed a motorcycle for a couple of years ago. He had no information to go on, except for the approximate location of where he lived. He didn't even know the guys last name. Impossible? Nope.

I pulled up mapquest, and I told my husband to point to the approximate location the guy lives, which he did. From that point, I had to learn each house number on that street, (after zooming in to get the streets name). Then once I have all the house numbers on the street, I run a reverse look up, (on I run all the last names by my husband to see if any sound familiar. Bingo! One sounds familiar. We zoom in on the location, and learn the house number, and reverse the address, and bingo we find his phone number. He too was glad to hear from us, and we're entering his Harley in a best in show/best paint contest. Another success. It took about 1.5 hours to find him.

The next case, my husbands other friend from school. He didn't know the correct spelling of his last name. I had to run a search of variables for the last name, until I could narrow it down. I gathered all the people in the nation with that last name, including the variables of the name. I narrowed it down by using the family first names as a group. Five people are easier to find than one person. Generally, I start with Mom. Which is how it went with this case.

The facts given: A mispelled name, he thinks he lives in Fla. and his Moms name is Carol, and she's probably 60 something. Not much to go on right?

My husband told me he remembered his friend being involved with sound mixing. He also told me the brothers name too. Now I had 2 names, with a verified spelling of the last name, through the Moms listing, (no phone number though). Once I have the right spelling, I run a name search on the friend. I got old data for a company out of business, dead end.

I ask my husband more questions like: What each family member did for a living, and anything else I could think of to ask. I went on the property search for the Mom, to see if she owned any property in fla. Bingo! I found her, and the whole family. However it was old data, and it appeared the father had died, and the estate was left to the wife and kids. Still no valid phone number yet. I found several addresses for each of them, but no phone number.

I continued probing my husband for more info on them. He told me he thinks the brother is in construction. I went back into property search, and saw that a plumbing company was listed on one of the transactions for the property in the estate. (All Public Record) I narrowed it down to this one particular company location, and called them up asking for the brother. I got a machine, and left a message for the brother to call me back. I was certain it was the right party. This one took a little more than 2 hours.

The brother called me back, in shock of course, and I explained that my husband just wanted to connect back with his best friend from school. He laughed, and couldn't believe that I managed to find him like this. lol He gave me his brothers cell number, and we called him up! Another success!

Needless to say everyone has been found, that needs to

It really wasn't difficult, just slightly time consuming. You just have to know where to look.

When you're looking for someone, you start by writing down everything you can remember about them...everything...even silly things...they may connect in later. You want to look at it as a whole family, not just one individual. Each family typically picks names that match, in general. For example: Marvin, doesn't go with Catherine, and so on. Michael, does go with Joseph, and so on. Creating the big picture to expose all the facts on one piece of paper.

Writing things down, also helps to remember when your searching the web. I'm discussing cases that I virtually had nothing to go on, that's not always the case. You usually have something to start with which helps a bit.

A name, a phone number, address, last job, a nightclub they frequent, etc.

The element of success depends on how bad you want to find them. Grouping all the facts together will bring you right to them, if you're thorough. Leave nothing out, and make sure to make notes as you go. Something you found out now that seems unimportant, may become important an hour from now.

Have a phone number? You can run it on the Reverse Phone Directory on, it will give you the name and address of the party. The same applies to an address. I prefer because it has everything on one site, yet connects to the outside world at the same time.

Even old information can be used, because it connects to the new information you don't have yet. Starting with an old phone number, can bring you to the address they were at, and they may have left a forwarding. You have to analyze what you have so far, and think about where it may lead.

Getting a neighbors phone number on the block, as close as possible is another avenue to leave a message. People generally like to help other people, especially when it's a child hood friend. Don't even feel funny about it, it happens on a daily basis.

Once you've experienced'll probably never go wanywhere else, it's that good.

I welcome any specific questions, or comments. I've been in this business my whole working life, there's much I can elaborate on. I look forward to hearing some success stories! For The Good Of The Many Matriarch Lifestyle and Society Matriarch Lifestyle and Society


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    • BrainFire profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from The Island

      I am so sorry to hear that. I had wondered what investigations must be like abroad. All international is difficult here too. But didn't the 1st DNA case happen there by you? I seem to remember...The Joseph Wambaugh..ah ha! lol

    • profile image

      Edmund EJM Investigations 

      3 years ago

      I wish that UK investigators had access to as much info as our American counterparts. We have a much more difficult job tracing the more evasive people.

    • profile image

      Paul - Private investigator 

      5 years ago

      some very good comments made in this article, we also carry out this type of work see

    • Docusearch profile image


      5 years ago from USA

      Extensive article and lots of good information. I wanted to add to your story and share an article we published on our website on this subject: Skip Trace Secrets from Leading Private Investigators. Hope this helps as well.

    • BrainFire profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from The Island

      Thanks Teddi14:

      Thanks for the link, and I hope whoever needs to be found.

      Thanks again, and take care! Come back to visit :)

    • Teddi14 profile image


      10 years ago from Southwestern Michigan

      I too was looking for biological father. I found him but a few years after he had died.

      I have some great links as well to helping find someone.  I have not made a hub about it yet though. I have it on a Squidoo lens.

      You can see it at:

      I hope this helps others too!


    • BrainFire profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from The Island

      New Items added :)


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