Has this every happened to you? You have an account that owes your company a considerable amount of money. Everything goes well for awhile. The payments are made on time, the debtor calls you just because he wants to know how he can make your day better (hey, this is my dream!).
Then one day no more calls and worse yet, no more payments. You, being the good employee that you are, attempt to call them and you discover that they have disappeared off of the face of the planet. So, you go back through your previous issues of Collection Advisory to look in the Skip Trace column to ensure your best possibility of finding your debtor. You begin your search process and you can not find any thing, WHAT NOW?
The question is, are you looking for the right information? Confirming the information that you begin with is essential. Are you certain that the name, address social security number and phone number were TOTALLY correct from the start? I know the debtor gave you every bit of information that you asked for, but if you did not get the complete information you may have to spend considerable time, money and effort to get it corrected. Let me explain:
Have you spelled the name correctly? Is it John, Jon, Jonn? Is he Jr. , Sr. , II or III? Is Smith her maiden or married name? Too many times we begin a search and later determine that the person we are looking for is actual the son or father of the person that we have found.
Is the address an apartment or mobile home park or a duplex? If so, the address is not 123 Main St. Instead it may be 123 Main St. Lot 1, or 123 Main St, Apt 14…you get the picture. Additionally, what if the residence is on family land, therefore you may have one driveway and multiple addresses. Go to www.cedar. buffalo. edu/adserv.html to determine the truest possible address that is listed.
Social Security Number
This can be a tricky one. Is the social security number that you have for the debtor the actual number issued by the Social Security Administration? It is not difficult to have multiple credit bureaus in one’s name. However, due to the identity thieves out there I will not discuss how that can happen here. Go to www.pimall.com/nais/ssndata.html to determine what state a SSN was issued.
The first three digits of a social security number dictate in which state that number was issued. If you have the legal ability to pull the credit bureau, look in the header section for the age or date of birth. This is a little trick to see if it is the correct credit bureau. If you do not see either the age or date of birth, most of the time it is not the number issued to them by the SSA.
There are several free websites that you can go to and determine what state and what year a social security number was issued. If a number was issued ten years before the debtor was born chances are that is not the correct SSN.
When the information was originally gathered the debtor told you that this is their home phone number, is it really? Is it a land line, the wire that runs from the pole to the jack on the wall? Or, is it a cell phone? There a few free websites that you can go to and determine if a phone number is a cell phone or a land line. Go to www.fonefinder.net input the area code and the prefix, the first three numbers of the phone number. You will discover if it is a cell or land line, what city and state it was issued and the telephone company that assigned that number. Also remember, there are internet companies now that will issue you a phone number with the area code of your choosing.
Godiva Chocolate is one of the most expensive chocolates in the world. The reason, they claim, is that that start with the best ingredients. We need to be the same. We need to start with totally correct information. Just like the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out. No deposit no return. A bird in the hand… OK, OK enough with clichés. Confirm the information that you start with and you WILL save time, money and effort.
And as always, happy hunting.
PO Box 30485
Greenville, NC 27833