For a fee, bail bond companies post bonds for individuals who’ve been arrested. Of these individuals there is always someone who fails to make a court appearance and a bounty hunter or a skip tracer has to track down the defendant who is now a fugitive.
Locating the missing person can involve a number of tools such as calling around to friends and family who know the defendant and using data bases to get information on the defendant’s whereabouts. The internet has provided new opportunities to help locate these people.
Social media has given the bail bondsman a new tool in tracking down skips. Social media can generally be used in two ways to accomplish this. The first is to set up a social media site to solicit help in finding the person and the second is to do a search of social media to track the person down.
Setting Up a Social Media Site
Bail bondsman can and do use social media sites such as Facebook to post pictures of fugitives they are looking for. The surprise here is that many bail bond companies don’t even have websites, never mind setup Facebook or Twitter accounts. Bail bond companies that do have websites will usually do a good job explaining the arrest and bail bond processes.
Another surprise is that many of these companies don’t use their websites to facilitate tracking down fugitives. Setting up a social media site is a passive way of locating fugitives, but can yield results which is why governments use this approach as well. An example of this is the State of Washington which has set up the website Washington’s Most Wanted.
There are a slew of social media sites that bail bondsmen can use to advertise and help apprehend fugitives. A list of these would at least include: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, and Yelp.
Searching Social Media
Ever had a conversation end when someone tells you, “That’s way too much information”? It seems many fugitives either never got this advice or ignored it when they heard it. Fundamentally, that is why searching social media for fugitives is effective. The internet has account after account of people being apprehended because they’ve either posted information about themselves on Facebook or went the extra mile and posted a video of themselves on YouTube.
One bail bond company has done their potential clients the service of cautioning them about what information they post on social media. Apparently, they know their clientele well.
It isn’t that bail jumpers are stupider than most people. Their problem is that they are people. It’s nearly impossible for people to be on their guard every minute of every day, especially on social media.
Even if bail jumpers pay attention to privacy settings that doesn’t mean their family and friends will do the same. In cases where skip tracers have to work around the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act it’s still possible to use Facebook and other social media sites to glean useful information on a bail jumper’s location and circumstances.
Using social media to find bail jumpers is too useful a tool to ignore. In some circumstances it can be cheaper and quicker to use Facebook and other social media than it is to use a service such as LexisNexis.
Kyle Carter is an avid blogger and professional bail bondsman with C&K OKC Bail Bonds in Oklahoma City. Kyle is passionate about sharing information online through his blogs, on youtube, and provides local bail bonds services in OKC to the local community.