How to Locate Someone Who Owes Money

By eHow Legal Editor

In order to sue someone for an unpaid bill, you must know where she resides in order to obtain legitimate service of process for the lawsuit. Many individuals who fail to pay their bills tend to move around a lot to avoid creditors. Here are some tips for locating someone who owes you money.

Perform a search of county assessor and recorder records, often available on their Web sites, for counties you know the individual lives or used to live in. You must update real estate records and personal property records each year, so as long as the individual is paying his taxes, you should be able to locate him.

Check for traffic tickets, civil lawsuits and criminal charges against the individual you're looking for by searching online court records, such as Missouri's (see Resources), to locate a possible address. It's important to have the individual's date of birth, and even a middle initial, to verify that who you're looking for is the same person listed on the cases you find.

Canvass phone books or, even better, white pages online (see Resources). Search by the individual's name, a previous address or even a telephone number to see if she remains in the same location.

Rummage through article archives on newspaper Web sites in areas you know the individual resided at one time or another. Often you will find helpful information, such as marriage announcements (which, if you're looking for a woman, may give you an alias), a listing as a surviving relative in an obituary, or even information about a business he opened.

Hire a skip trace agency. These agencies use the information you give them to basically check the individual's credit and pull up all known previous addresses and personal property, including the addresses associated with that property. The more information you have about the individual the better, especially date of birth and social security number.

Use a company specifically designed to locate individuals, such as US Search (see Resources). These organizations are much like skip tracers, only they don't require as much information.