How To Find the Person Behind an Email Address

In case, you get an email from a person with whom you have never interacted earlier. Now, if you want to know more about that person without directly asking that person, then there are techniques to help you uncover the location and other details of the email sender.

Web search engines are obviously the most popular place for performing reverse email lookups but if the person you’re trying to research doesn’t have a website or has never interacted with his email address on public forums before, Google will probably be of little help.

However, here are few tips and online services that may still help you uncover the identity of that unknown email sender.

(1) Find the sender’s location
Open the header of the email message and look for lines that say “Received: from” followed by an IP address in square brackets. If there are multiple entries, use the IP address mentioned in the last entry.

Now paste the IP address in the traceroute tool and you should get a fairly good idea about the location of the email sender.

traceroute is a computer network diagnostic tool for displaying the route (path) and measuring transit delays of packets across anInternet Protocol (IP) network.Traceroute is available on most operating systems.

On the Apple Mac OS, traceroute is available through opening ‘Network Utilities’ then selecting ‘Traceroute’ tab, or typing the “traceroute” command in the terminal. On Microsoft Windows operating systems it is named tracert. Windows NT-based operating systems also provide PathPing, with similar functionality. Variants with similar functionality are also available, such as tracepath on Linux installations. For Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) the tool sometimes has the name traceroute6.

(2) Reverse email search with Facebook
Facebook has 450 million users worldwide and there’s a high probability that the sender may also have a profile on Facebook.

Unlike LinkedIn and most other social networks, Facebook lets you search users by email address so that should make your job simpler. Just paste the email address of the sender into the Facebook search box and you’ll immediately know if a matching profile exists in the network.
If you are able to locate that person on Facebook, download his profile picture and then upload it to TinEye – it’s a reverse image search engine so you can locate his other social profiles where he may have used the same picture.

TinEye reverse image search engine : http://www.tineye.com/

(3) Check all the other Social Networks
You can use a service like Knowem to quickly determine if a profile with a particular username exists in any of the social networks.
If the email address of the send is something like green_peas@hotmail.com, there’s a probably that he or she may have created accounts of some other social network using the same alias “green_peas” – put that in knowem.com to confirm.

(4) People Search
You can also try a people search service like Pipl and Spokeo– both services let you perform reverse email lookups but Spokeo has a more comprehensive database than Pipl.
Other than regular web documents, Spoke also scans social networks and even the whois information of domain names to find any bit of information associated with an email address. However, some of the results returned by Spokeo are only available to subscribers.

Links: http://www.spokeo.com/ and http://pipl.com/

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