Someone sent you an email and you don’t know whose email is this? You are not sure about the owner or even if you should open that email to see what’s inside. For all you know, it might contain malware or ransomware.
The first thing people do, in this situation, is to conduct a Google search, but sometimes the search result comes in empty or unhelpful. If the sender is well-known with a website or a page on some popular site, it can be easy to locate him/her, but this is not always the case.
To counter this problem, which I recently faced when my friend sent me some files with a new email id that I didn’t have on my contacts, I researched and found a solution.
Here are 5 simple but effective ways to do a reverse email check and find out more about the email’s sender.
1. Check Search Engine
This is what most people do which is do a Google search and see if something comes up. Simply copy and paste the email id into Google to do a reverse email check. If the sender has that email ID on Facebook and his privacy settings are set to public, you might be lucky. The sender may also have his email id on his website, blog, forum, some other social media profile or webpage. More often than not, this should be enough.
2. Use IP Address to Trace Email’s Source
Check if the email’s headers contain an IP address. What are headers and why are they important? Headers are where you find information such as “Date”, “From”, “To”, email id etc. If you are lucky, you will also find an IP address which can then be used to trace the location of the email’s sender.
Alternatively, you can copy the entire header and paste it here. This is an email header analyzer that will copy the IP from the header and display it separately for you. If the tool fails to find an IP, you may have to do it manually. It may be possible that the email doesn’t have any IP address associated with it.
When searching manually, you are looking for a series of numbers with dots in-between inside brackets. If there is more than one IP address, copy the one at the end to find the email’s source. But, how to find the source?
Once you get your hands on the IP address of the email’s sender, use this tool to reverse search it. This will get you the location (approximate) of the sender. It might give you a hint or two as to who might have sent the mail.
3. Search Social Media
Since Facebook has a far bigger userbase than Twitter or LinkedIn, it is better if you reverse check the sender’s email id there first. If the email sender is using the same email id on his Facebook profile, and if the privacy settings are set to public, you should find his profile just fine.
It is also possible that the email id was mentioned in some public group or conversation, but chances are slim. You can also check Twitter and LinkedIn, and Google Plus to see if the email id can be found there.
4. Reverse Profile Image Search
Sometimes, you will notice that the email that you received has a profile picture in it or, if you can find the person on Facebook and see his profile picture but not his complete profile due to privacy settings, here is a nifty trick.
Download the profile photo and go through this guide to do a reverse image search. A reverse image search will help you find more about the email sender like his site, other profiles where he is using the same image and so on.
5. Search in People’s Directory
There are so many websites and tools that we don’t even know about half of them. Google is not the only search engine out there. Some of the other search engines are dedicated to specific purposes like finding people. Here are two people’s search engines you can use to reverse check email id and finder the sender’s identity.
Pipl is the most popular people’s search engine to do a reverse email check. You can search by name, email id, and phone number. Whatever information you can find in the email that you received and whatever information you were able to find about the sender using the above steps.
The next tool is the Wink People’s Search by iTools. You can search by name, email id, location (reverse IP trace in step 2) and even interests to narrow it down. That is the whole idea behind this exercise. Begin your search and narrow it down till you have found your email sender.
The above-mentioned steps should be enough to help you find out who sent the email and arrive at a decision. If you know of another tool or method that can help our readers do a reverse email check, please share in the comments below.