Repossessions, Loan Defaults on the Rise

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With financial delinquency on the rise, skip tracing and repossession companies are busier than ever. Reverse lookup searches from continue to assist in locating debtors.

It’s 11:00 PM, do you know where your car is? If you haven’t bothered to make your monthly payments, you may not realize that your vehicle is on a hook, en route to the repo yard.

Many among the nations financially irresponsible are finding that despite their careful maneuvering, finance adjusters (fancy financial lingo for repo men) are still locating them and summarily turning them into pedestrians.

Will Greenway, collections supervisor for the sub-prime lender Apollo Acceptance says customers are dumbfounded to realize that their vehicles are gone.

“It’s amazing. For months you can’t get these skips to return a phone call, but as soon as they are a repossession statistic they reach for the phone wanting to play nice. A lot of times the first thing they ask is ‘How did y’all find me.’ ”

Cell phone reverse lookup searches, available from companies like is quickly becoming the go-to skip tracing tool for collectors, attorneys, process servers and other investigators. Cell phone lookup searches are responsible for the location of thousands of non-paying debtors, witnesses to crimes, fugitives and even the confirmation of marital infidelity.

Greenway says his collectors regularly order a reverse lookup search on the cell phone numbers of their worst delinquents that results in about a seventy percent location rate. A popular tool used to find people, cell phone lookup search provides the name and address associated with a cellular phone number.

For instance, a process server or repossessor may have been given a cell phone number by the lender, or as part of their own skip tracing efforts. As there is no cell phone number directory, the name and address information must be obtained through a company specializing in skip tracing. The number is submitted, the reverse lookup is performed and the results sent to the paying party.

Greenway says credit inquiries and landline phone number searches were sufficient years ago. But the rules have clearly changed.

“People used to stay at the same address for a while and even though they didn’t always pay for their car, they would pay their light and phone bills. Now days some people get evicted five, six times a year. It seems the only bill they do pay is their cell phone.”

And often that’s all investigators need to find them.

Often, agents are in a hurry to locate people or collateral, particularly in the repossession and fugitive apprehension industries. Such companies, when squeezed for time, opt to pay a little extra for rush phone tracing services.

One of the industry leaders, offers standard, rush and detailed locate searches, tracing cell phones to the owner‘s name and address. The company’s president , Mark McAlpin says consumer delinquency is at an all time high.

“A few years ago it was unheard of for credit card companies to sue their debtors. Today, we see it all the time. The days of simply writing off bad debt are over. Lenders have gotten tough and intend to locate their customers, whether to serve process or repossess their collateral. We’re suddenly getting lookup requests from some of the major players in the credit industry.”

Credit card companies pursuing legal remedies for unpaid bills evinces how bad delinquency in the US has become. Historically, revolving credit was simply written off in cases where the lenders had no phone number or address for their non-paying customers. The change in the credit card industry illuminates the seriousness of credit issues in general.

Although a myriad of skip tracing tools exist to help lenders, skip tracers and investigators, the cell number lookup search is fast becoming the easiest way to locate debtors and cheaters alike.

Such trends have been steadily increasing the skip tracing efforts of lenders, collectors, recovery agents and process servers for several years now. In addition to these conventional customers, McAlpin says the number of infidelity related reverse lookup requests has dramatically increased as well.

Such a sign doesn’t bode well for marriage statistics, either.

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J. Logan
Finacial Times
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