We report Co-59 NMR and transport measurements on n-type filled skutterudites BaxYbyCo4Sb12 and A(x)Co(4)Sb(12) (A = Ba or Sr), promising thermoelectric materials. The results demonstrate consistently that a shallow defect level near the conduction-band minimum dominates the electronic behavior, in contrast to the behavior of unfilled CoSb3. To analyze the results, we modeled the defect as having a single peak in the density of states, occupied at low temperatures due to donated charges from filler atoms. We fitted the NMR shifts and spin-lattice relaxation rates allowing for arbitrary carrier densities and degeneracies. The results provide a consistent picture for the Hall data, explaining the temperature dependence of the carrier concentration. Furthermore, without adjusting model parameters, we calculated Seebeck coefficient curves, which also provide good consistency. In agreement with recently reported computational results, it appears that composite native defects induced by the presence of filler atoms can explain this behavior. These results provide a better understanding of the balance of charge carriers, which is of crucial importance for designing improved thermoelectric materials.