Asset Searching – A 7-Step Guide to Skip Tracing for Assets

If you are looking to collect a debt but are unsure if the debtor has anything to enforce a judgment against, or has hidden assets, then why not consider asset searching?

If so, you may be feeling quite concerned about the non-payment of your debt, as this may be a main source of income for you and your business.

If this is the case, it may be time to take matters into your own hands and pursue alternative routes, such as collecting or selling a client’s assets instead of them paying you with money directly.

If your debtor is consistently denying having the money to pay your debt, this method may be especially effective, as they do not necessarily need money to have assets!

But what if your debtor is hiding their assets or will not declare them? Well, this is where skip tracing can come in.

Skip tracing, a process that uses databases and services to locate people and/or assets can be used to find assets that you can use to pay the debt.

But how can you use skip tracing to search for a debtor’s assets?

In this article our team of debt recovery professionals will provide you with a basic understanding of how you can use skip tracing to search a debtor for any undisclosed assets.

Reasons for Conducting Asset Searches in Australia

In Australia, asset searches or financial investigations have become an indispensable tool for various legal, financial, and personal scenarios. One of the primary reasons is debt recovery and helping uncover a debtor's financial profile.

With the ever-evolving financial landscape, individuals and businesses often find themselves in situations where they need to recover outstanding debts.

An asset search can reveal hidden properties, bank accounts, investments, and other valuable assets that a debtor might have in Australia, ensuring that creditors have a tangible means to recover what they're owed.

This is especially pertinent given Australia's robust property market and the prevalence of investment portfolios among its residents.

Additionally, asset searches play a crucial role in legal proceedings such as divorce settlements and business disputes in Australia.

In divorce cases, one party might attempt to conceal assets to influence the division of property. An asset search ensures transparency and fairness in the distribution of assets.

Similarly, in business disputes, especially those involving partnerships or shareholder disagreements, understanding the complete asset profile of involved parties can be pivotal in reaching a resolution.

Furthermore, with the increasing globalisation of Australian businesses, asset searches can also aid in due diligence processes, ensuring companies have a comprehensive understanding of potential partners or acquisition targets.

Legal and Ethical Considerations in Australia

In Australia, while asset searches serve as a powerful tool for various purposes, they are bound by strict legal and ethical guidelines & legal compliance.

The Privacy Act 1988, for instance, mandates the protection of personal information for some creditors, ensuring that any asset search respects the privacy rights of individuals.

This means that any creditors conducting such searches must have a legitimate reason and must not infringe upon the rights of the individual concerned.

Additionally, the Australian Consumer Law protects individuals from deceptive and misleading conduct, which means that any misrepresentation or misuse of information during an asset search could lead to legal repercussions.

Ethically, professionals conducting asset searches in Australia are expected to maintain the highest standards of integrity and transparency.

This includes ensuring that the information obtained is used solely for the purpose it was sought and not for any malicious intent.

Moreover, it's imperative to ensure that the methods used to gather information are above board and don't involve any form of deceit or subterfuge.

In essence, while asset searches can provide invaluable insights, they must be conducted within the framework of Australia's robust legal and ethical standards to ensure fairness and respect for all parties involved.

Define Your Asset Searching Objectives

The first step for using skip-tracing tools to locate undisclosed assets that can be used to pay your debt is to define your objective.

As creditors, it is always important to set goals when you are doing business. When you are considering skip tracing, this rule still stands!

When you are trying to locate your client’s assets, it is important that you know what you want and what you are looking for.

Each case and debt will vary depending on the several features that are individual to your debt.

It is also wise to have a suspicion that they do indeed have assets that you can find, or you may waste your time and money searching for things that simply do not exist!

Research the Asset Searching Process

Another key step for using skip-tracing tools to locate undisclosed assets that can be used to pay your debt is to research the process.

Skip tracing or asset recovery, like anything else in finances and business, has certain things that must be known to avoid going in blind.

You should, for example, be knowledgeable on the laws and privacy requirements when one is skip tracing, as not following them can result in legal trouble and even stalking allegations!

Having a basic understanding of what asset recovery is and how it works for a beginner is key to success and to locating and collecting hidden assets from your clients.

Gather Information About Assets

Another key step for using skip-tracing tools to locate undisclosed hidden assets that can be used to pay your debt is to gather information.

In order for the skip tracing process to be conducted, you must gather as much information about your client as you possibly can.

You see, the skip tracing process involves taking what you know about your debtor and using it to find out more information that you may need to collect your debt from them.

This means that you should take the time to go through client files and data that you may keep regarding them so that you can gather a basis of information to begin the skip-tracing process.

This is one of the more tedious parts of the process, but it is essential and must be done all the same!

Some information that may be useful includes:

  1. Full name and aliases
  2. Date of birth
  3. Last known address
  4. Phone numbers
  5. Employment history
  6. Financial records

Utilise Online Databases

Another key step for using skip-tracing tools to locate undisclosed assets that can be used to pay your debt is to utilise online databases.

This is the key defining feature of a skip trace.

When you are looking for hidden assets using skip tracing, you should be plugging your client’s name and any other relevant information into several databases, such as those relating to home and car purchases in your area, to discover if any items of value are owned by this individual.

There are several that are public and accessible to whoever wishes to look, but some will require payment or will only be accessible to certain individuals.

Examine Social Media

Another key step for using skip-tracing tools to locate undisclosed assets that can be used to pay your debt is to examine social media.

In the modern digital age, people practically share their lives on social media, especially key events. You can use this to your advantage!

If someone makes a large purchase or simply owns a home, car, other vehicle, or anything else of serious value, chances are they will reference it in their social media, or it will be clear from their account.

Access Public Records for Asset Searching

Another key step for using skip-tracing tools to locate hidden assets that can be used to pay your debt is to access public records.

Public records can offer you a useful insight into the history and financial standing of your debtor.

Accessing bankruptcy records, court records, and several others can provide you with a clue into whether or not your client has assets at all, as those that were recently bankrupt likely do not, or if they can pay you outright.

Depending on where you and your client are residing, the records and the ability to access them will vary, but it is a useful resource all the same!

Employ Professional Skip-Tracing / Asset Searching Services

Another key step for using skip-tracing tools to locate undisclosed assets that can be used to pay your debt is to hire a professional skip-tracing service.

This process can be more difficult than it sounds; allow a professional to do it for you!

Not only is skip tracing a tedious and complex task, but many professional skip tracers have better access to skip tracing tools and experience in the industry, so chances are they will be more successful also!

Asset Searching - Key Takeaways

Dealing with unpaying debtors is no simple task! This is why it is sometimes necessary to take the next step and use skip-tracing techniques to discover the hidden assets of debtors, that can be used to pay the debt!

Hiring a professional skip tracer is wise if you are new to the process or are struggling with it, or even if you are simply too busy to engage in it yourself!

Asset Searching FAQ

Navigating the world of asset searching can be intricate, especially when it comes to uncovering hidden assets of elusive debtors. 

With the rise of skip tracing as a powerful tool in this domain, many questions arise.

Below, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions to shed light on this process and help you make informed decisions.

What is skip tracing in the context of asset searching?

Skip tracing is a process that utilises databases and services to locate individuals and/or their undisclosed assets. It's especially useful when debtors avoid payments or hide their hidden assets. The method can help creditors find assets to settle debts.

Why is it important to define asset searching objectives?

Defining your asset searching objectives helps set clear goals for the skip tracing process. Each debt situation is unique, and knowing what you're looking for ensures efficiency. Without clear objectives, you might waste time and resources.

How can I prepare for the asset searching process?

Research is crucial. Familiarise yourself with the laws and privacy requirements of skip tracing to avoid legal issues. A basic understanding of the process ensures you're not going in blind and increases your chances of success.

What information is essential for the skip tracing process?

Gathering comprehensive information about your debtor is vital. This includes their full name, aliases, date of birth, last known address, phone numbers, employment history, and financial records. The more you know, the more effective the search.

How do online databases aid in asset searching?

Online databases can reveal assets linked to a debtor. By inputting the debtor's information into databases related to property or vehicle purchases, you can discover valuable assets they own. Some databases are public, while others might require special access.

Can social media be useful in skip tracing?

Absolutely! In today's digital age, many people share significant life events and purchases on social media. Monitoring a debtor's accounts can provide clues about their assets, such as homes, cars, or other valuable items.

Why are public records important in asset searching?

Public records offer insights into a debtor's financial history. By accessing bankruptcy records, court documents, and other relevant records, you can gauge a debtor's financial standing and potential assets.

Is it worth hiring a professional skip-tracing service?

Yes, hiring a professional can be beneficial. Skip tracing can be complex, and professionals often have better tools and industry experience. They can enhance the success rate of finding undisclosed assets.

What are the potential legal pitfalls of skip tracing?

If not done correctly, skip tracing can lead to legal complications, including stalking allegations. It's essential to be knowledgeable about the laws and privacy requirements to ensure the process is conducted ethically and legally.

What’s the main takeaway from asset searching?

Asset searching using skip tracing can be a powerful tool to discover undisclosed assets of debtors. It's a proactive approach to recover debts, especially when traditional methods fail. Hiring a professional can further streamline the process.

Related Articles

Financial Planning in Your Small Business

Financial Planning in Your Small Business

Are you a small business owner who is navigating through the trials and challenges of financial planning, and is looking for tools to assist you with this difficult process? If so, you may have found that your financial planning has been unsuccessful or inaccurate in...

read more
How to Choose a Debt Collector in Darwin

How to Choose a Debt Collector in Darwin

Are you a creditor that is located or has debtors that are situated in the Northern Territory, Australia, and are struggling with the debt recovery process for any reason and looking for a debt collector in Darwin? If so, you may be feeling stressed and under pressure...

read more
Skip Tracing in Brisbane – What You Need to Know

Skip Tracing in Brisbane – What You Need to Know

Are you a creditor who is located or with clients located in Brisbane who owe you a debt and who you are having trouble locating to recover their debt and looking for skip tracing in Brisbane? If so, you may be concerned about the prospect of being unsuccessful in...

read more