The ABCs of Skip Tracing and Collections by Drew Tyrrell

Octber 13, 2010

Learning the Trade

“You are about to become a debt You collector, making attempts to collect debts, debts and any information obtained hereafter will be used for that purpose.”

Qualities of a Good Debt Collector

Good computer skills Good communication skills (listening is the most important) Creative Self-confident Motivated Problem solver Great attitude


Skip Tracing


Definition and types of “skips” Best practices/techniques Best, most economical tools ACT Strategies

Voluntary, Voluntary Involuntary and Unable to Collect Employing a strategy What to say and how to say things for better results ACT Strategies

Types of “Skips”

Not trying to hide (aka Unintentional)
Trying to hide from you (Intentional) Trying to hide from everyone (Fraud)

The Unintentional Skips

Likely relocated for a job Unemployed and living with friends or relatives Unaware of th d bt U f the debt Unsure of their options Low on cash

The Intentional Skips

Aware of the debt and can’t/won’t pay Likely have excessive other debts Friends and relatives helping them hide Bigger problems than simply debt

The Fraudulent Skips

Never had any intentions of paying Hiding from law enforcement/child support Friends and relatives have lost contact Requires “hardcore” collections

Get Organized to Skip Trace

Establish a skip tracing plan as part of your collection strategy Schedule a specific time each day or week to skip Skip tracing by phone: Friends, Relatives, Neighbors, Landlords, Employers, Colleagues, Former Employers, Pastors, and ex-spouses Skip tracing with letters: Helps verify an address and may provide a forwarding address Skip tracing online: Use search engines, free websites including phone/address directories, public record searches e.g. bankruptcy filings, marriage/divorce records, birth and death records, inmate searches

Skip Tracing Themes

Be proactive Identify what you are looking for Work the good information to obtain the missing Leave yourself a trail then retrace your steps Utilize a variety of strategies Be creative, Sherlock Holmes!

Economical Skip Tracing Tools

Your Internal Tools
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Admission application Entrance/exit interviews Other university/college departments

World Wide Web
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Web-based search engines (e.g. Google, Yahoo) Phone/address directories Public records (marriage, divorce, civil/criminal actions, foreclosures) The “free” sites

Credit Bureaus
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Current addresses and phone numbers Employment information Spouse information Ability to pay

Skip Tracing by Phone

Don’t be afraid to dial, dial, dial – and ask a ton of questions! Be prepared – know what to expect Be professional Record everything y g Challenge the lies and call screeners Avoid “Yes/No” questions Yes/No Avoid being deceptive/misleading The hold button secret

Skip Tracing Using Letters
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Send letters and keep record of what you sent and the cost (recover your costs on Federal debts) Letters may generate a new address Send a letter to the on-campus address and the permanent address Obtain a physical address from a PO Box Skip letters are no longer the norm p g

The Best Sources of Information
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Parents & relatives Neighbors & landlord Employers E l Colleagues Former employers Former colleagues Ex-spouse – Personal Favorite! p Pastor Other acquaintances

“Right-Phrase” Your Questions
Is Johnny working? Is Johnny at work?

Where does Johnny work? Is he still working at ____? Allow the person the complete your question? What is Johnny’s cell phone number? What shift is Johnny working today/tonight? t d /t i ht? His address is _____ ? Allow the person to complete the address for you. I am available to call back at ____, which is the best time slot to deliver this important message? I understand Johnny is busy so where should I send him an email?

Does Johnny have a cell phone? Is Johnny at work right now? What is Johnny’s address? What time will Johnny be home?

Does Johnny have an email address?

Free Skip Tracing Resources

Basic Demographics ;;;; Public Records

County Court Websites; State Department of Corrections; County Recorders;,; Government Employees (e.g. State of California – State Telephone Directory); Bankruptcy courts

Professional Licenses

Secretary of State; Chamber of Commerce; Medical Boards, State Bar; Teacher Credentials Governing Body (e.g. State of California Teacher Credentialing Commission - https://teachercred ctc ca gov/teachers/PublicSearchProxy

Social Networking;;;; http://en wikipedia org/wiki/List of social networking websites

Online Search Engines

“Google it!” –
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Great for uncommon names Enter your subject + area = FOUND! Use quotes to avoid partial or wrong party information

Other search engines ;;;

International Skip Tracing

Is the balance sufficient to warrant the expense? Identify the country of origin Identify common languages in the country Contact the ESL department at your institution Student sponsors and/or embassy Check VISA & Immigration Status (USCIS –

Types of Collections

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Demand for payment by phone and letter Lump sum payment(s) Installment payments Compromise/settlements

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Reporting to credit Tax/treasury offset Private collection agencies Holds on University/College services

Unable to Collect
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Private collection agencies Write-offs Litigation

Best Practices on the Phone

Update the file in every conversation Avoid sounding robotic Adapt to where you are calling Sound like a friend or relative but don’t lie Be courteous but not a pushover, firm but not aggressive, p , gg , factual but on a need to know only basis Talk to the bill payer in the family (with permission)

Borrower Information is Power!
The Strategy:

Require the following:
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Obtain demographics (in every contact) Discover ability and sources of payment Communicate the urgency of payment

Current address Social security number Date of birth Place of employment Work phone number Cell phone number Email address Spouse s Spouse’s information Household income & expenses Assets: Real property, money market accounts, 401k

Negotiating with the Borrower
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Use an informal tone to identify the borrower Verify location information Identify yourself and your intentions Make no demands if the borrower doesn’t understand the debt Stress urgency by explaining benefits and consequences of paying or not paying i t i Ask for the balance Psychological pause: 1st person to speak loses Take a financial statement if BIF is not possible Document, reiterate and follow up on all arrangements

Tricks When Negotiating

Make your offer and be willing to compromise Don’t b d aga st yourself o t bid against you se Don’t give up anything for nothing Identify what motivates the borrower Use empathy but not emotion Have a backup plan and be patient pp p

Committing Questions

What are your intentions about paying this debt in full, today? Which method of payment do you want to use to pay this amount in full today? If you understood why y owe this debt y would p y it in full today y y you you pay y correct? Are there any other debts you have which you consider more important than this one today? If I created an affordable payment plan, would you commit today?

ACT’s Skip Tracing and Collection Logic and Strategies

Using a computerized collections case management system

Storing data on all agency placements Manage the progression of each account through the g p g g collections process
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Debtor demographics Particulars of the debt Status indicators Queue level indicators Account action and result codes

Analyzing Debtor Demographics
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Name Address City State Zip Code Home phone Work phone Cell phone SSN Driver’s license Place of employment Credit reports and scoring p g


*Probability of PMT! Probability

Particulars of Debt

Pre-placement account d il P l details

Debt type Placement Level Date of last payment, if any Deliquency date Prior collection activity

Status Indicators

Denotes the stage of the collection process Helps the monitoring of an account or groups of accounts Helps filter accounts with special needs ith i l d


New account Legal action taken L l ti t k Bankruptcy identified or filed Borrower has ability; out to raise money Pending consolidation Borrower may be deceased; obtain death certificate Borrower is incarcerated need booking info




Action and Result Codes

Details of how an account has progressed through the collection process Identifies specific collection activity Provides collector and manager directions for what to do next

Borrower called and promised payment

Setup for payment arrangement scheduled for date of h d l df d f payment Attorney status; no calls to borrower Status h St t changed t d to cease and desist; no further borrower contact Notes message and schedules account out 3 days Updated new address and phone number in account

Borrower’s attorney called Borrower advised B d i d cease and desist

Called borrower and left a message f Skipped with the Department of Education

Queue or Bin Level Indicators

Helps ACT identify when a collector should work a particular account or group of accounts and provides a filtering mechanism

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Specific time zones Business classes High scoring accounts Bankruptcy Death Incarceration In e tion

Agency Fee Based Tools
        B k www InsightAmerica com

The Agency Advantage
Ever wonder how the Agency made it happen? Significant investments in the following:
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Industry professionals Employee training and development Information technology Skip tracing databases Compliance, compliance, compliance

Thank you for your time and participation!

Drew Tyrrell (887) 03 (88 ) 403-7770 Ext 6589 0 t

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