Asset Searches: Finding a Penny in a Haystack

Asset Searches: Finding a Penny in a Haystack by Marc Hurwitz

Criminals are crafty. From my days with the CIA and the U.S. Department of State, I can say I’ve seen the bad guys try it all. But they also make mistakes, and that’s why bad guys almost always get caught. The hard part can be finding them.

Recently, an attorney hired us to find someone who owed his client a lot of money. He needed papers served on that person, but the subject relocated without leaving a forwarding address. So we conducted a “Skip Trace”, the industry term locating a person’s whereabouts. The term comes from the phrase, “skipping town.”

Skip tracing is a great way for law firms and process servers to find someone they need to appear in court. But we’ve also used it to help a client locate a relative with psychological problems, and it’s a major tool in locating missing persons.


There are lots of steps when it comes to running a Skip Trace. It all starts with a Crossroads Locate Report. A Locate Report provides important information, to include:

  • Employers
  • Current and previous mailing addresses
  • E-mail addresses
  • Mobile and land-based phone numbers, including those of neighbors, relatives and associates
  • Vehicles owned or leased
  • Corporations someone is listed as an officer

A lot of people ask us, “can’t I just do this on my own?” Sure, you can do practically anything online, but Crossroads Investigations has access to databases restricted to law enforcement and licensed private investigators, so we’ll turn up information you may never be able to get a hold of, like finding the owner of a PO Box.

Did you know that habitual scammers and con artists hide behind PO Boxes all of the time? We can find someone who’s doing this by getting to the paperwork used to open a PO box. This paperwork is required to have an active and verifiable mailing address. If that’s not an option, then we can access Utility Records and Credit Reports. Both of these documents provide a person’s address.

If all else fails, then there’s always the tried and true — pinging a person’s cell phone. First, we listen to the outgoing message without ringing the phone to confirm it’s the right cell phone. We then triangulate the phone’s position, without the subject’s knowledge.

A cellphone ping is how we finally found my client’s man on the run. We pinged his cellphone early in the morning to a house that didn’t show up in any reports. We researched that house and found out it belonged to his girlfriend. At 6 am, on his way out the door, a process server showed up on the doorstep, and served him papers. My client is still going through the legal process, but none of it could have happened without the attorney’s initial step of hiring Crossroads Investigations for a Skip Trace.

Bad guys make mistakes. At Crossroads Investigations, we get right to work and have a very high success rate in tracking down someone who doesn’t want to be found. Want to find out more? Send us an e-mail or give us a call and we’ll help you stop someone from “skipping” out on you or the money you or your client are owed.

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