To trace an individual in relation to a debt can be difficult; really it depends on what information you have about the person you are looking for.

This short article and checklist about how to trace an individual has been written by Ryan Shaw Debtor Tracing Expert at FinderMonkey Ltd. Ryan has talked about tracing people on BBC Radio and was at the 2012 Debt Collection Awards to see FinderMonkey finish as runners up for Debtor Tracing Team of the Year

Tracing An Individual Who Owes You Money…

If you are looking for someone who owes you money then there are certain pieces of information about them that you’ll need to know and depending on how they came to owe you money will depend on whether you have that information to hand. Don’t worry if you don’t, it is possible to ascertain the various pieces of information you don’t have.

One of the things we have built our company on is the ability to access the highest level of information that is available in the UK to trace people. This information is not available online to the public, so this will put you at a big disadvantage, but here’s where you should start. The checklist should also help you not to make the same mistake again, by giving you a list of questions that you should ask any potential tenant, client or borrower!

What you need to know about a person you are looking for…

  1. Their full name – no nick names and their middle name. Always make sure you get their middle name.
  2. Their date of birth – Their age is ok but a date of birth is a great source of confirmation, it’s one of the very few things that you can’t change about yourself.
  3. Their last known address – Always get a residential address not just a business address, this is really important. We are always asked to trace dodgy people from business units but if they have a very common name then it’s not easy.  If they haven’t lived at the address very long, ask for another address, you want three years of address data ideally.
  4. Business Address – As additional information its very useful
  5. Their partner’s name – it’s easier to trace two people!

These are the key things you need to know to successfully trace an individual.

Let’s look at two examples…

The first, without the above information and the second with all the above information, you’ll see the point I am trying to make perfectly.  The names are made up so if you know a plasterer called John Taylor this doesn’t refer to him!

Option 1 – Please trace John Taylor, he took the money to plaster my living room but never did the job. He lives locally but I don’t know where, his mobile number is xxx and his van says JT Plasterers on the side.

Option 2 – Please trace John William Taylor, born 03/03/59. He is a plasterer and runs his business from his home address, which is 56 Plaster Avenue; he has lived there since 2001 but has recently moved with his wife Tracey.

It’s pretty obvious that option two is going to be much easier to trace as we have a full picture of the person we are looking for.


You might not feel comfortable asking for such detailed information but if you do and they are not prepared to tell you then ask yourself why! It’s also worth mentioning that if they have given you all this information, they are going to think twice about taking your money and not doing the job.

This isn’t just applicable to plasterers and tradesmen, this can be used with potential suppliers, tenants and or anyone you are considering entering into a financial arrangement with.

But what can you do to trace an individual?

If you have to trace an individual now, what can you do yourself? Here is a good checklist for you to go through that could lead to the person’s current address, not all will be applicable…

  1. Facebook – Check it see if they are on there and what information they have added about themselves
  2. Electoral roll search – if they live locally it can be useful. If they have moved within the last twelve months they might only be on at previous address. The electoral roll is only collected once a year.
  3. Google search – If you search for the person on Google, Google will then look at the entire internet to see if there are any matches. Be careful though, it will search by name so if it’s a common name then it might not be your exact person. If you put quotation marks around the person’s name and then the name of the town they are connected to, Google will look for that name in that particular town, making the search much more accurate.
  4. – great for obtaining telephone numbers and getting on the phone and asking for the person outright

As I said at the beginning of the article, you are very limited as to what information you can access, you can’t access credit information or consumer information and this is where most of the good stuff is in relation to you been able to trace an individual.

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