What Investigators Can Discover from Individuals Who Desire to Vanish

Skip tracing is the skillful art of locating individuals who are intentionally hiding. This practice is employed by collection agencies, law enforcement, bounty hunters, and private detectives. One valuable tool used by law enforcement agencies is the CLEAR system developed by Thomson Reuters.

Unveiling the Secrets: Techniques for Skip Tracing

If you’re on the hunt for someone who doesn’t want to be found, here are seven effective methods for skip tracing:

1. Harness the Power of Social Media

Social media platforms are a goldmine of information. As long as someone’s profile remains accessible and hasn’t been deleted or set to private, CLEAR can explore public records to analyze their social media activity. It can also identify friends and family members connected to the missing person through social media.

2. Uncover Clues with Image Search

Images shared on social media networks can provide valuable hints about a person’s whereabouts. Utilizing image search tools such as Google Lens can assist in deciphering details within photographs.

3. Peek Behind the Curtain of Aliases

Individuals attempting to disappear often adopt new names as aliases. CLEAR has the ability to detect patterns in data that may expose the various aliases used by the missing person.

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4. The Mystery of Synthetic Identities

Synthetic identities are created by combining accurate data with incorrect information. For instance, someone might use a verified address along with a purposely misspelled name. To counter this technique, individuals hiding may contact services and falsely claim that their name is misspelled. CLEAR can identify this deception by detecting misspelled names associated with the same address.

5. Crack the Code of Mail Forwarding Services

To conceal their physical address, a missing person may resort to using a post office box or a mail-forwarding service. However, obtaining this physical address information is possible through a court order.

6. Unveiling the Truth through Voter Registration

Registering to vote results in your name, social security number, date of birth, and mailbox address becoming public information. If this data is part of the public records, CLEAR can uncover it.

7. On the Trail of Motor Vehicle Registration

CLEAR scours through an archive of 164 million motor vehicle records, providing valuable leads in the search for missing persons.

Pandemic Puzzles

The ongoing pandemic introduced additional challenges in locating individuals who have disappeared, as many people have been confined to their homes. Consequently, traditional methods of tracking individuals through CCTV footage and geo-location data obtained from bank card usage became less effective. However, since more people were at home, it became relatively easier to locate them. Law enforcement agencies could utilize mobile phone tracking and triangulation of cellphone tower signals to pinpoint their whereabouts if the missing individuals possessed cell phones known to law enforcement agencies.

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Struggles in Finding “Missing Persons” During the Pandemic

The pandemic brought forth several challenges in locating missing individuals that were distinct from the usual circumstances. Two notable challenges were:

1. Reduced Number of Witnesses

As reported by The Washington Post, FBI statistics showed a substantial increase of 29.4% in manslaughter and homicides in 2020 compared to 2019. This alarming rise was attributed, in part, to the lack of witnesses due to widespread lockdown measures.

2. Missing Persons with Mental Health Issues

The National Alliance on Mental Illness advises immediate contact with the police when an individual with mental illness goes missing. After three days, their information is added to the list of endangered adults maintained by the FBI’s National Crime Information Center. However, if law enforcement locates an adult over the age of 21 who hasn’t committed a crime or poses a danger to themselves or others, they cannot be held against their will. Although it is possible to locate many missing adults with mental illnesses, often they end up homeless instead.

According to NPR, there were approximately 580,000 homeless individuals in the United States as of January 2020, marking a 2% increase from 2019. The pandemic further exacerbated this issue. If you are searching for a missing person suspected to be homeless, it is worthwhile to focus your search in cities with high homeless populations, such as New York City and Los Angeles.

To learn more about skip tracing and related services, visit Garrity Traina, a trusted provider in the field.