by Valerie McGilvery
Apps for skip tracing haven’t really caught my eye until recently. I drove around an unfamiliar neighborhood and opened Waze. Sitting in McDonald’s parking lot, hoping to avoid some cops, potholes and traffic, I clicked on a few of those crazy little Waze characters. Clicking on each one moving on down the road gave me a little entertainment, and then it happened…
I tapped on one little sun flower-faced Wazer and my debtor, the skip, used her real name and even had her email address under her name, for all the motoring Wazers to see. I could send her a Waze message too.
I could see her heading towards home so I made a B-line and parked in her driveway before she could. Tow truck following just a few minutes behind me, blocked her in on the street and I got my repo. Sounds like a dream right? I hope this wasn’t like lightning striking only once. Wazer being one of the top downloaded apps aggregating content but if a user isn’t signed in then you won’t find them.
I absolutely hate working out in the field but sometimes I have to get out there and knock some doors. Either the repo man has given up, or the debtor is desensitized to attempts at contact and just won’t answer their door or phone. Cyber tracking in the field couldn’t hurt and actually makes me want to get out there and knock more doors (actually not, if you ever hear me say that again just know it’s a joke).
Other apps that have helped me get a paycheck are the new Facebook Messenger app. Remember when Facebook started up and most game players would connect with anyone to play games? Then there’s the angle of being a super hot guy or girl who wants to be a friend.
Connecting to the skip’s friends first would grant confidence that you’re not a scammer (this is still relevant and always makes me giggle). This is my most effective way into a persons page and profile so I can cyber stalk their every comment and picture hoping to see something confirming an address I already have or discover something new.
[Facebook Messenger no longer has this automatic feature]
With Facebook Messenger, if I get a message from a user and tap on the message bubble in the app, if location services are turned on in the skip’s app, I can see the location of they where at the very moment the message was sent. The first time I saw this my heart raced. This is better than a GPS unit and cell phone pinging. All I have to do is connect to my skip, engage in casual conversation and keep the messages flowing.
With one debtor I engaged in conversation, a married man, continued to send me messages after I invited him to lunch and made him believe I went to his high school and asked questions about his high school reunion group gatherings. Since many people who were connected to him were his high school graduation group, I felt like this was an easy way in, and it worked.
He finally told me he was married and couldn’t meet me and I told him I wasn’t hitting on him. He was flattered and intrigued enough to send more messages, and more messages. With every message he sent me attached was a map with a tack, showing me exactly where his butt was sitting whilst texting me. It appeared to be a shed in his backyard! And yes, I got my repo.
TrueCaller has given me a new reason to grab my iPhone. Before it was for WhitePages Reverse, which I continue to use and pay for, but a new player in the caller ID game has made me money and helped me notice other caller ID apps available. This app works better on an Android phone than an iPhone.
You can set your phone to show caller ID and social connections for outgoing calls as well as incoming (not on the iPhone). I called an associate and the TrueCaller app flashed the company name and some lingo from his Facebook page that I didn’t know existed. This app is outstanding and has saved me a small fortune in cell phone reverse fees on other databases.
Whisper, the anonymous tell-a-secret app that was supposed to be like SnapChat where the company doesn’t archive a users posts, connection, and location of submissions. But they do. If you work in the field you can go to the area interest and search for Whispers close to you. You won’t be able to see a users history of Whispers but most users have a unique name that associates them with their real life. Usernames can be changed, but the locale Whispers will still be visible as the users continues to post from their location.
You’ll see crazy posts where people are looking for late night hook-ups and younger people wanting company to share their stash of illegal goodies. So far I can’t ascertain a specific date of posting. Each post’s age is marked with hours, days, weeks and months. Anything that’s a few months or years old could be removed from view or just so far suppressed by new Whispers that I haven’t found proof of one’s existence.
A run down of other useful apps for investigative work and skip tracing:
Hush-Get as many VoIP numbers as you wish, unlimited worldwide calling for $5.00 per month per number. This replaces the need for Skype Unlimited. The drawbacks are blocked callers can’t get revealed using TrapCall or a toll-free number and incoming calls only have your phone number on caller ID when you forward your Hush number to your cell or land line. Call quality has been excellent but if you’re using it via wi-fi only and have a slow signal your calls could be bad. If you get a great number you want to keep don’t forget to renew it, or you’ll lose it.
TapeACall-Very clunky call recording app for iOS phones but best quality so far. The call recording choices for Android is broad-but not for iPhones. Unless you’re using a head-set device plugged into a tape recorder you won’t get the beginning of the call from Hello. You’ll need to ask your incoming caller to hold on and then start the app, wait for it to connect then merge calls. The alternate is to just ask the caller to let you call them back, start the app then make your call. I’ve been using the pro version. You must program your app to NOT beep every minute if you are covertly recording.
Scanner Pro-This amazing app takes a picture of your image, document or photo while color correcting it (such as the pictures that turned red from the 70’s) and also perfects the scan such as a page of small font type and perfects it so that you can read the scanned image. The scans of old blurry photos seem to be focused. Don’t expect to use it quickly though, if you’re secretly “scanning” docs do lots of practice. It’s better to have the item you’re scanning on a dark background so the app knows the boundaries of your document or photo.
The app makes a pale blue parameter over the document. This is your queue to snap your scan. If you don’t see a pale blue overlay then your scan won’t be perfect. I paid $10.00 it and it’s the best investment I’ve ever made.
FindAGrave-Allows for a quick search for a grave world wide. You can enter dates of birth or death and locations helping a common name search. User contributions give this app an edge over sites such as Ancestry.com.
(No longer available) iFieldNotes-This app lets you make notes while grabbing a time and latitude and longitude for that note. Helpful for working multiple accounts and making a note of what you see leaving the date stamp and location fetching work up to the app itself.
cPro Craigslist-If you add a listing to your favorites list in this app then you can view it after the listing has been removed.
Did you know that there’s a new Skip Trace Secrets Seminar?
In Texas, just north of Houston, in The Woodlands, Texas on September 15th from 10 AM to 6 PM. Learn more about the one day class at SkipTrax.com and register your seats.
$125.00 in advance and $140.00 at the door (if seats available) so please pre-register!
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