Skip tracing may involve a little bit of spy work.
Skip tracing is the process of finding people who have seemingly vanished, “skipped out,” for various reasons. Among the reasons are people that owe debts, are being sought by the government, people that are missing, and people sought for legal matters. The person looking for them is called a skip tracer.
Federal Vs. State
The breadth of areas skip tracing covers means a variety of laws are involved on the federal and state level. In general, just looking for someone is not illegal, however where actions impact a person’s personal information or their physical body, greater restrictions will apply. The Fair Credit Reporting Act creates federal regulations that control the ability of others to access private information such as social security numbers. A person’s physical body is generally only placed in harm’s way by bounty hunters (who are generally looking for people who have violated their bail agreements).
New Jersey laws do not say much about many areas of routine, or non-invasive skip tracing. However, bounty hunting, which falls into the skip tracing category, has received a great deal of attention. A number of false arrests, assaults on misidentified persons and a lack of regulation or rules in the area motivated law makers to enact legislation directed at bounty hunting.
The New Jersey Bounty Hunting Licensing Act requires bounty hunters and those desiring to run or operate such enterprises adhere to certain state-imposed rules and regulations. Bounty hunters and businesses must answer directly to law enforcement officials. There are also minimum standards; they must be 25 years or older and have about five years of experience in a related field. After successful application to the state, the bounty hunter, will receive an official state identification card.