International business-to-consumer (B2C) debts, whether in connection with student loans, medical files or online purchases, are difficult to collect. The older the debts, the more likely it is that the debtor moved location, a telephone number or cell phone is not accurate anymore, or that email addresses have changed. Let alone the complicated matter of enforcing payment legally due to differences in among others legal systems and economic means of the individual debtor.
If the debtor cannot be located, debt collection agencies generally intent to locate the debtor, which in the debt collection business is called Skip Tracing. Official and public data may be available to trace, and often enhanced systems are used.
As I pointed out last week in the previous blog post about skip tracing, for skip tracing in the Caribbean one faces challenges of which the following three are the most common: improper registration systems, the fact that information is often not accessible, and the fact that people move around overseas.
How can we bypass these challenges and trace individuals effectively?
I indicated this already in a previous blogs post. As a start, google your debtor. Use all the info you have to create search combinations as unique as possible so that the likelihood of useful results increases. The search combinations may include first name, last name, nickname, location, former location, country, date of birth, profession or industry your debtor is active in; basically any information available. Often an initial search gives additional info which can be used to narrow the Google search further.
2. Social Media
Use the power of Social Media. Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram. The majority of the people have online profiles with at least one of the Social Media. This might give you an indication as to debtor’s actual residence location, it might provide info about debtor’s surroundings and sometimes even contact details.
3. Word-to-mouth info
It might be cliché, but in the small-sized Caribbean nations, perhaps not everybody knows everybody, but a lot of people do know each other personally. So you might get well away enquiring locally by speaking to people in the debtor’s near surroundings if you know family names, previous employers, or previous locations.
There are three alternatives for the challenges of skip tracing: the Internet in general, Social Media in particular and Word-to-mouth info.
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