Skip Tracing in the Caribbean: Three Alternatives

150628 i2International 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?

1. Internet

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.

If you are interested in learning more on the subject of skip tracing in the Caribbean let’s connect on Linked-In or follow me on Twitter.

To participate in conversations about debt collection in Latin America & the Caribbean please join the Linked-In Group Debt Collection Latin America.

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Skip Tracing in the Caribbean: Three Challenges Explained

140621 caribbeanInternational 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.

Generally speaking, for skip tracing in the Caribbean one faces a couple of challenges, which can make it hard and sometimes impossible to locate individuals. I am pointing out three of them.

1. Improper registration systems

Now we must be careful not to generalize, but in several Caribbean nations we see that official registration systems are inefficient and in accurate. Although there might be a formal obligations to properly register or update domicile information, in practice this is poorly carried out in practice and hardly monitored by local authorities as to correctness.

2. Information is often not accessible

As is typical for nations considered offshore locations, official information on private persons publicly available or accessible in Caribbean nations is generally limited, and not in the least case because accessibly is regulated and protected by local law.

3. People move around, and often overseas

As the majority of the Caribbean nations are island states, small in size, and often affiliated or even integral part of an overseas (former, and most commonly, European) “motherland” (like the British Virgin Island and Britain, Curacao and the Netherlands, Guadeloupe and France), and there are strong cultural and economic ties between the Caribbean nations and countries overseas, many people spend at least part of their lives (studies or work) overseas. For several reasons, often people do not change domicile details when they move or move back and may continue to be registered and thus officially live outside the Caribbean, which makes it hard to impossible to determine actual location.

Skip tracing in the Caribbean means facing challenges. The three most common challenges in my view are improper registration systems, the fact that information is often not accessible, and the fact that people move around overseas.

If you are interested in learning more on the subject of skip tracing in the Caribbean let’s connect on Linked-In or follow me on Twitter.

To participate in conversations about debt collection in Latin America & the Caribbean please join the Linked-In Group Debt Collection Latin America.

Tres Herramientas En Línea Para Cobranzas

140729.3 4 Three Online Tools - Tres Herramientas en LineaLos tiempos que enviar una carta y hacer llamadas de teléfono para dar seguimiento ya quedaron atrás. Aun nos comunicamos por teléfono pero la papelería ha sido remplazada casi por completo por la vía digital. El Internet se ha convertido en una fuerte de información poderosa, también en cobranzas.

Pero como podemos usar de forma efectiva el Internet para cobranzas?

Hay dos razones para usar el Internet para cobranzas: 1. para crear un perfil del deudor el cual nos dará una indicación de las posibilidades económicas y con eso el potencial de recibir pagos, y 2. para obtener más datos de contacto posibles del deudor, como correos electrónicos, números de teléfono, contactos de Skype y enlaces de los Medios Sociales.

Podemos distinguir tres categorías básicas – vamos a llamarlos “herramientas en línea” – para lograr la creación de un perfil del deudor y para obtener información de contacto.

  1. Google

Para empezar, googlea a tu deudor. Usa toda la información que tengas para crear combinaciones de búsqueda únicas para que sea más probable que salgan resultados útiles. Las combinaciones de búsqueda pueden incluir nombres, apellidos, sobrenombres, ubicación actual, una ubicación anterior, fecha de nacimiento, profesión o industria en que tu deudor trabaja; prácticamente cualquier información disponible. Muchas veces una búsqueda inicial te genera información adicional la cual puedes usar para especificar aún más tu búsqueda en Google.

  1. Los Medios Sociales

Usa el poder que tienen los Medios Sociales. Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest; hoy en día la mayoría de la gente y de las empresas tienen perfiles en línea.

  1. Bases de datos en línea

Bases de datos públicas y privadas pueden proporcionarte mucha información. Bases de datos públicas son por ejemplo Cameras de Comercio, registros públicos de la propiedad y directorios industriales. Ejemplos de bases de datos privadas son las Páginas Amarillas y Páginas Blancas, directorios de empresas, también pueden ser directorios industriales, asociaciones; para mencionar algunas.

Crear un perfil de tu deudor y obtener datos de contacto son las razones para usar el Internet para cobranzas. Hay tres herramientas en línea básicas para ayudarte a obtener información útil: Google, los Medios Sociales y Bases de datos en línea.

Si te interesa saber más sobre el tema del Internet y cobranzas o si en general te interesa cobranza en América Latina por favor conéctate conmigo por Linked-In o sígueme en Twitter.

Para participar en las conversaciones sobre cobranza en América Latina por favor agrégate al grupo de Linked-In: Debt Collection Latin America.

Three Online Tools for Debt Collection

140729.3 4 Three Online Tools - Tres Herramientas en LineaThe times that sending a letter and doing telephone follow ups with debtors is long gone. We still get on the phone but the paperwork is almost completely replaced by digital. Internet has become a powerful source of information, also for debt collection.

But how to effectively use the Internet for debt collection?

The reasons for using the Internet for debt collection are twofold: 1. to create a profile of your debtor which gives an indication of its financial possibilities and therewith its “pay back potential”, and 2. to obtain as much contact details as possible, like e-mails, telephone numbers, Skype contacts and Social Media links.

We can distinguish three basic categories – let’s call them “online tools” – to accomplish the creation of a profile of your debtor and obtain contact info.

  1. Google

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.

  1. Social Media

Use the power of Social Media. Facebook, Linked-In, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest; nowadays, the majority of people and companies have online profiles.

  1. Online Databases

Publicly and privately run databases can provide a lot information. Public ones are for example Chambers of Commerce, public registers of properties and industry directories. Privately run databases can be yellow and white pages, company directories, also industry directories, associations; to mention a few.

The reasons for using the Internet for debt collection are to create a profile of your debtor and to obtain contact details. There are three basic online tools to help you obtain useful information: Google, Social Media and Online Databases.

If you are interested in learning more on the subjects of legal proceedings or collections in general in Latin America please connect on Linked-In or follow me on Twitter.

To participate in the conversation about debt collection in Latin America please join the Linked-In Group Debt Collection Latin America.