What is a Tracing Agent
Many people ask “what is a tracing agent” and in the article, we go some way to explaining what a tracing agent does and how they do it.
What is a tracing agent – Tracing agents are specialist private investigators who locate people to a current address. They utilize a variety of datasets to obtain current address data for the person they are trying to locate.
In the UK most tracing agents will utilize a combination of Credit Agency data and Electoral roll data and they will supplement these two main data sources for tracing a person with other confirmation data sources such as BT data to confirm residency of a property and that the bill payer of the telephone bill is the same name match as the person they have traced and that the number is still active and live which indicates residency is still valid.
Tracing agents are instructed to trace people for a variety of reasons which can include the following circumstances:
- Tracing missing debtors
- Tracing long lost family members<
- Tracing beneficiaries of wills
- Tracing people who one wishes to litigate against
- Tracing missing freeholders of buildings
How Tracing Agents find people
Tracing agents will utilize data sets and combinations of current live data to validate a current address. For instance, if a tracing agent looks at a credit agency source such as Experian or Equifax they can see a link from the old address to the current address on these Credit Agencies and this will also show recent credit applications to indicate the recency of the flagged new address.
The Tracing agent will then look to confirm the indicated address by various means and this can be alternative data sources that also show the flagged address to be the current address, physical verification means which although more expensive can be a very robust means to verify an address such as a doorstep verification which can be a useful tactic to verify a traced address in debt collection cases.
Open-source people tracing
Open source tracing is where a tracing agent utilizes the various open-source media that is available such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, LinkedIn as a small example.
The more experienced a tracing agent is the more adept they will be at leveraging this open-source media to pick out the nuggets of key information to base an inquiry on. Sometimes these open source platforms can bear fruit where more traditional areas can be limited, as an example, if one was tracing a non-credit active person who placed all of their applications and bills in their partners name as they were taking precautionary measures to be evasive from being traced such as a debtor then the open source can sometimes give the key information.
For example, with Facebook, one might be able to discover the subject’s partner and then be able to trace this person to a current address for further investigation and to check if the traced subject is residing with their partner.
Credit Agency data
Tracing agents have access to industry access tracing data sets and Credit Agency information (for permitted cases) to enable the locating of people in the UK. The UK Credit Agencies are Experian, Equifax and Transunion
The credit information available to tracing agents for the purposes of locating people is vastly superior to the Electoral Roll information open to the general public for tracing people in the UK.
A tracing agent will locate people for a variety of reasons including tracing debtors, locating beneficiaries of wills, locating absentee freeholders, finding long-lost family or friends, and tracking old customers.
Tracing agents in the UK must be registered with the ICO (Information Commissionaires Office).
Many people tracing cases are for debt collection claims, this is because to start a debt recovery claim in the UK a current address must be provided to the courts or debt collection agency, without a current address the claim cannot progress.
A tracing agent will be able to confirm if the subject lives at the supplied address currently or indeed has moved in which case they will locate and provide the correct current address.
It is estimated that 70% of cases submitted for debt recovery will require a people trace service, performed by a tracing agent, to establish the trace subject’s current address.
A trace is an attempt to locate an individual who needs to be contacted but appears to be no longer residing at their last known address, or with whom contact has been lost for some reason. These individuals are known as gone aways.
Find UK People® may use a variety of different sources, including supplied client information, publicly available databases, and Credit Reference Agency data – CRA where permitted, in order to try and locate a new address for the individual.
When instructed to locate an individual, we will commonly be provided with the name, date of birth, and last known address of the subject. We will then utilize this information in conjunction with various sources in an attempt to confirm a new address.
No trace no fee & turnaround
All address tracing is no trace no fee and all refunds will be placed within 24 hours of negative trace result provision.
If you have received a negative trace result the next step would be to request a in depth trace to locate your subject
Where you have been told a standard search will not suffice or our standard search has returned a negative result, the following information explains why an in depth people trace will be required to locate the subject – Learn more
In situations where your case returns a negative result from a standard searches, it may be necessary to delve deeper. Our premium in-depth search is specifically designed to cater to such situations and comes with a potential for yielding positive results even when traditional search mechanisms fail.
All tracing is completed within 7 days normally and a maximum of 30 days.
Address tracing is offered with a 60-day recheck of any information provided but is subject to an advance fee for a recheck after 30 days from reporting date which is refunded if the original report is deemed incorrect. Data searches i.e. not in depth searches will provide the current data as shown on credit agency and other supporting data sets but we can only provide the information as shown on these data sets and do not indemnify the case further.
All prices on this website exclude VAT and will be charged VAT at the current rate at the end of the checkout process. All timescales are working days/hours i.e. 10 am – 4 pm Monday to Friday.
On occasion due to staff holidays, sickness or business interruption timescales can be deferred by 30 days from the date of order which will result in a maximum turnaround of 60 working days.
Credit Agency datasets
Datasets are only used where permitted by the supplier and UK data / GDPR compliance requirements. For example Credit Agency data is only used for Debt, Financial claim or Asset reunification purposes.
Where tracing an individual falls outside of these uses we would seek to trace the subject of the search using other compliant investigative means including permitted datasets.
Any mention of Credit agency use on this website or its individual pages does not indicate that it will be used on any service without the correct validation and authorisation that the case passes the data assessment for its use.
To underscore, all cases submitted to us are subject to our data impact assessment prior to processing. As such any submitted case would only use data where permissible by UK Law, GDPR, our internal compliance requirements, passing our internal third party impact assessment and third party data supplier requirements.
All reports and information contained therein, are supplied in the best of faith, however, we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied regarding the validity, accuracy, adequacy, reliability or completeness of any supplied information or lack of.
We rely on multiple third party data sources in the UK, these data sources are reliable and are an industry standard for sourcing intelligence, but they are outside of our control.
We only supply reports based on sourced data and any supporting information to this data, i.e we perform an information gathering service but do not guarantee the data supplied or the lack of any data which has not been sourced.
Our reports should be viewed as information intelligence that has been obtained from third party sources with supporting data to verify this source data but we do not guarantee its validity or guarantee that all data has been gathered on a report.
As such our reports should be treated as intelligence on a given subject matter but not a complete circumstance or history, as data intelligence (and the resultant reports supplied by us) can omit certain information, assets, liabilities or supply out of date or on occasion incorrect information in some cases where data sources or indeed the searched for party have not updated their records or have data errors or omissions.
Data provision, accuracy or completeness by any third party data source is outside of our control and as such all reports are supplied in the best of faith and without any guarantee as to their accuracy or completeness.
We do on most supplied single data points attempt to verify this data by independent time relative data source as per industry requirements and best practise. For example a supplied current address will be verified by multiple data sources to validate a new address link, such as an address link supplied by a UK Credit Agency.
Reports supplied are on a full and final basis
Find UK People reports are well-known in the Credit, Legal, and Financial Services sectors for providing accurate and reliable data sourced from various UK data sources. Therefore, it is important to clarify that once a trace report is delivered to the ‘client,’ it is issued in good faith based on the data and information gathered and/or available through UK Credit Agency data and other third-party data sets at the time of report generation. Find UK People does not provide any guarantees, whether expressed or implied, and we do not offer refunds or financial guarantees under any circumstances after the report is issued. It is essential to understand that Find UK People does not offer any refund cover, either expressed or implied, regardless of the issues raised. Our reports are provided solely for informational purposes, in good faith, but they are not indemnified. All cases are considered as final and binding, without any refund, recheck, or indemnity coverage. Reports and the information contained therein are used at your own risk, and Find UK People does not indemnify the information supplied. By accessing and opening this report, you agree to be bound by our terms of service in their entirety. The complete terms of service can be found on our website.
Pre-litigation & financial background’s
Pre-sue/litigation reports, Employer status research, financial background reports, telephone tracing and investigations (or any service provided by Find UK People) are fee per case unless otherwise stated due to the complexity of the cases and are non-refundable as we can only report our findings of a given situation or status, to underscore information is provided on a if found basis and not guaranteed as an absolute or accurate reflection of a subjects status or assets due to limitations with UK data access.
Our provided services are very accurate and provide our final research findings but we do not offer free indemnity cover for further free correspondence on any non address trace it is not financially viable or constructive in most circumstances. Clients should be assured that information provided is via reliable Credit Agency sources and cross referenced via alternative data sets for integrity as such it is very unlikely to be erroneous. With this in mind we do not enter into exhaustive communication on each basic data report, it is supplied as full and final hence conclusive.
Turnaround of these reports is a maximum of 30 days. All information on a pre-litigation, financial background, employer status research, or investigation report are supplied in best of Faith. We do not guarantee or indemnify that any information that has been obtained is a complete or absolute status or reflection of a subject or their financial background or any other required information.
We can only report on our findings, and validations of those findings, of any sourced data but on occasion this may omit other assets or statuses not picked up by our utilised data sources.
For example, property ownership can only provide a list of properties that Find UK People can obtain and verify ownership against during our investigations but this does not guarantee that any supplied list includes all properties owned by the subject, this is due to UK data limitations and our compliance with those requirements.
Financial background reports (all variants) are limited to 1 land registry property searches on any sourced potential property data. Pre-litigation and in depth reports (all variants of investigations) are limited to 3 land registry property searches on any sourced potential property data.
Property’s or assets found during our investigations are on a if found basis and we can not guarantee to source all existing properties or assets for any subject in the UK, this is due to the limitation of data in the UK.
To underscore financial background reports will source up to 1 property at a maximum and pre-litigation reports will source up to a maximum of 3 properties but this is not guaranteed and on some occasions the service will provide a null return even when properties do exist in the subjects name as data sources do not always report on ownership.
All financial background reports are limited to 1 property ownership search for England & Wales, if you need further extensive searches we recommend the pre-sue report (in-depth) which will offer up to 3 property ownership searches. All prices exclude VAT, report information dependant on if the information is available from our datasets.
Can you find company owned properties?
Yes we can but it is more difficult to source as the credit activity footprints are limited and not the same as when searching an individual. You will need to be aware that property ownership could be omitted on some assets where no data matches. This also applies to offshore companies with UK property interests.
Do you provide offshore asset information?
No, we only provide UK based asset, financial and liability information.
Do you always find all owned assets?
No, we cannot guarantee to find all properties or assets in the UK. Our service normally finds most assets especially if there is credit activity at the address of the property which is owned by the subject, for example a mortgage in the subjects name or a utility bill but we cannot guarantee full disclosure or identification.
Do reports find all data on a subject?
No you cannot assume all information such as assets and liabilities have been found, data is just that data, as such it provides intelligence to base decisions on but do not assume that the information is exhaustive and provides all the assets and liabilities associated to that subject.
What happens if the subject is deceased?
On most occasions we can verify a subjects is deceased but again data is reliant on being updated by third parties and this can have a time lag of up to 6 months to update probate records and on occasion can just not update.
If we confirm a subject is deceased we will provide the date of death and how we have obtained this data. When the subject is deceased the report is final and still chargeable.
Please read and view terms of service for full details and terms of supply.
How it works - CRA's
Searches through Credit Reference Agencies such as Equifax, Experian and Call Credit are the most common tracing tools for debtor tracing or asset reunification cases used by tracing agencies. The name, date of birth and, in some cases, the last known address will be provided to the Credit Reference Agency via a data link and this will then search the databases for a potential link to a new address and, if successful, supply this to us.
The address will require further verification in order to determine if this is the correct address for the individual you are trying to locate. This must be done prior to disclosing any details of the trace in order to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. The address can be verified through making contact by telephone, or by a separate non CRA data source, we always verify in this manner to complete our traces for you.
This results in reassurance that all of our traces are compliant with the data protection act and are always verified trace data. To note we do not contact the subject of the trace at any time (unless it is for a case where we require consent of the subject for example in family or friend tracing cases) and the subject we are searching for will never be made aware of the search by us contacting them (for instance in a debt recovery case).
How it works - Telephone
Telephone tracing is a widely used method for locating ‘gone- aways’. The process allows a tracing agent to contact a variety of people such as family members, friends, neighbours and employers in order to identify the residence of the trace subject. This process is legal and ethical, and should be carried out without causing upset or alarm to the person contacted. We do not conduct telephone enquiries without customer consent for specialist cases and our cases are normally concluded via data layering from alternative datasets.
Information is supplied to the Credit Reference Agencies – CRA ́s by creditors (e.g. banks, utilities and credit card companies). When somebody applies for credit, the information that they provide to the creditor is then reported to the Credit Reference Agencies and appears on the applicant’s credit report. Responsibility for the accuracy of this information lies with the creditors reporting the information.
Find UK People® provides a rapid, efficient and compliant means to trace nationwide debtors or other individuals you need to reconnect with. Accessible online, the system offers an easy-to- use interface.
How it works - Addresses
Our investigation partners can access address links derived from credit agency databases and credit activity information for permitted cases. We will provide you with the current address of the subject, which will have been verified via two separate information sources and is guaranteed to be a current address for the subject on the date the report is generated.
We underwrite this information for 30 days, so in the event you feel the information is incorrect we will recheck the case for you for 30 days with a valid reason.
For rechecks of supplied reports
Please note retraces are only available for address traces where the data needs to be rechecked as you feel it is incorrect based on a denied status from a current resident of the supplied address and you have verified evidence that it is incorrect – Pre-sue/litigation reports, telephone tracing, investigations, financial background reports or any other service apart from address tracing services are fee per case on supply due to the time spent on the investigation in addition to this we can only report on our findings which cannot be contingent in its provision and all services as outlined are non refundable in all situations. Full details are available in our terms of service.
It is highly unlikely that an address trace result would be incorrect, we utilise high level multiple data sources including Credit Reference Agency data where permitted, as the way in which Find UK People® layer data sets makes its results highly accurate. It is normally worthwhile to double verify any case yourself before contacting us…
If you have a confirmed reason that our information may be incorrect and it is within 60 days from report issue date then you may request a retrace
Fee is charged for admin purposes after 30 days which is refundable in the unlikely event we were incorrect in the address supplied at the reporting date.
Please note it can take up to 30 days to receive a recheck result as we will have to source alternative confirmations of the current address.
Negative results that have been refunded cannot use this retrace service, retrace results are final and are not offered with any further recheck of the result.
Any case that confirms the original report was correct will be charged an additional admin/cost fee. This fee is charged in advance and refunded if the original report is deemed incorrect but please be aware our reports are normally correct at the time of supply and hence we now charge all rechecks in advance. If you have a confirmed reason that our information may be incorrect and it is within 60 days from report issue date please use this form to request a recheck of your case.
Our provided services are very accurate and provide our final research findings but we do not offer free indemnity cover for further free correspondence on any case as it is not financially viable or constructive in all circumstances. Clients should be assured that information provided is via reliable Credit Agency sources and cross referenced via alternative data sets for integrity as such it is very unlikely to be erroneous. With this in mind we do not enter into exhaustive communication on each basic data report, it is supplied as full and final hence conclusive.
If you require further research or consultation then you can instruct a further in depth search or extensive research on a fee bearing basis. For example an in depth investigation will conduct further fee bearing research and reporting of the matter which can be requested online
We welcome clients requesting this in depth research and we will endeavour to solve any more complex matter that requires an in depth researchers time. Just request a 5 hour research time basis to start the case matter research assignment.
This process is detailed in our terms of service and allows us to charge for the more evasive type subjects who evade from providing information within the data we enquire from and these cases require substantial investigation time which we need to charge further fees for. Our standard online data fees cover a simple search and produce very accurate results for the vast majority of cases but any case that requires substantive investigation requires an in depth fee to research the matter further.
We will only refund a case prior to supply of our report if we cannot confidently supply the requested information. Once a report is supplied, it is non refundable and supplied as a full and final.
- All services and cases by Find UK People (‘The Company’) are provided based on available third party data, with no refund or financial guarantee, expressed or implied.
- The Company may retrace an address tracing case at its sole discretion, but does not warrant absolute correctness.
- Potential rechecks of cases are at the Company’s discretion with no guarantees of refund, irrespective of the report’s contents or disputes raised.
- By using our services, you agree to these terms, waiving claims for refunds or financial reparations.
These terms are subject to UK laws and jurisdiction and also subject to our full terms of service.
Examples for recheck request within 60 days from report date
- Denied at door with picture ID of current occupant
- Mail marked “gone away” with evidence of current occupant
- Bailiff states “gone away status” with credible evidence supplied
To instruct a retrace:
- Go to findukpeople.com
- Hover over Support
- Select Request a Retrace from the drop down menu
- Fill in the recheck request form
To request a recheck of any supplied information please click here.
If your result is refunded (Negative Trace)
Our systems are live data systems and any result that is negative will be refunded within 24 hours of receiving this returned or negative trace result email. We refund where all our systems cannot locate the person currently to a confirmed current address as shown on third party data sets.
We advise the following course of action if this happens with your case.
Instruct us again after 4 weeks from this report date and we normally will find any trace subject on the second trace instruction. This time gap gives our systems time to update with new information from our data sources to obtain a current address.
We refund cases where at the current time there is no further information to obtain a current address. We advice to either:
- Wait 4 weeks and resubmit the case to us when information sources will of updated.
- Request an in depth trace with our investigation team which normally will locate a current address with an in-depth investigation search – request here
A returned or refunded status is our system definition for a negative trace and has been worked but will be returned and refunded as there is a negative trace result.
Please note: Pre-sue/litigation reports, investigative services and financial background reports are fee per case due to the complexity of the investigations and are non refundable in all situations as outlined in our terms of service. All other cases such as address tracing we only offer a retrace of a case to verify the supplied results but there is no financial refund guarantee under any circumstances.
Information provision is based on the subjects actual situation that can be discovered at the time the report is generated and if the report has minimal information it means we have searched against our datasets but the subject does not match for the given searches, for example if the the subject does not own property in the UK this will result in a nil return of information on the report for this section – property ownership. Our information in no way is guaranteed to be complete in terms of assets or liability information as it is based on data from third parties and outside of our control, all reports are supplied in the best of faith but without guarantee – see terms of service
All reports for Pre-sue/litigation reports, investigative services and financial background reports are full and final and do not come with any recheck service.
CRA – Credit reference agency, supplies credit links formed in applications for credit or payment of credit accounts at the new supplied address
XD – Ex-directory – this gives the bill payers name at the supplied property but not the number (this can match to the subject address in the subjects name but we cannot supply the number)
LAS – Living as stated at the supplied address
GA – Gone away
DOB – Date of birth, normally used in matching the subject to a property by the date of birth
Refunds for negative traces
If your report states refunded it will be refunded in full or partially where only part of the information is obtained. To confirm all address tracing is no trace no fee and all refunds will be placed within 24 hours of negative trace result provision.
Cases which are returned negative or refunded can use our in depth people tracing service which resolves most matters and is still backed by our no trace no fee guarantee – Learn more
Depending on your payment method refunds can take up to 10 days to show on your statement due to different banking timescales. If you need further information on this you will need to contact your bank or credit card provider for their full terms of service.
All reports for Pre-sue/litigation reports, employer research or tracing, divorce reports, investigations, employer information and financial background reports are full and final and do not come with any recheck service, guarantee or liability – see terms of service.
Only address tracing is offered with a recheck service of 30 days for a confirmed reason.
Still got questions?
Our expert team is available and will answer your query in 24 hours