Before contacting us, read the tracing guidance notes
To ask us a specific question about your trace results - contact details at end of this page.
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 utilise a variety of datasets to obtain current address data for the person they are trying to locate.
In the UK most tracing agents will utilise 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 utilise data sets and combinations of current live data to valid 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 utilises 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 enquiry 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 there applications and bills in their partners name as they were taking precautionary measures to be evasive from being traced such as a debtor then open source can sometimes give the key information.
For example with Facebook one might be able to discover the subjects 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
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 subjects 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, 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 utilise this information in conjunction with various sources in an attempt to confirm a new address.
How it works - CRA's
Searches through Credit Reference Agencies such as Equifax, Experian and Call Credit are the most common tracing tools 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 and the subject we are searching for will never be made aware of the search by us contacting them.
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. 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 - Pre-sue/litigation reports, 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 (apart from address tracing services) 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, 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.
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.
If we cannot provide an updated address, it will be that we require more time for our systems to update with the new address for the subject, in which case, we will issue you a refund. Please wait 4 weeks from the retrace results date to place the new trace request again.
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.
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
- Click Contact us
- Select Retrace Request 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.
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 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.
Information provision is based on the subjects actual situation 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.
All reports for Pre-sue/litigation reports 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 and employer tracing is no trace no fee and all refunds will be placed within 24 hours of negative trace result provision.
Depending on your payment method refunds can take up to 4 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, divorce reports, investigations, employer information and financial background reports are full and final and do not come with any recheck service.
Only address tracing is offered with a recheck service of 30 days for a confirmed reason.
Ask us a question about a supplied trace
Please email your question to us
Email us any questions about a supplied trace