Reverse Email Lookup: A step by step guide | Tech
 
 
 
 
 
 

Reverse Email Lookup: A step by step guide

/ 10:56 AM October 08, 2021

Have you ever received a message from an unknown email address? A reverse email lookup can help you determine who the sender is. It’s not just for random emails though, as people use this function for all sorts of purposes.

We will start by talking more about what a reverse email lookup is and the kinds of information it provides. Then, we’ll go through the many ways of performing this online function. You’ll see that each option has its upsides and downsides.

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It can be unnerving to receive a message from a mysterious sender. Questions may swirl around your head as you guess how someone got hold of your email address. Thankfully, you can put a face on this unknown sender with a quick reverse address search!

What is a reverse email lookup?

This is a smartphone.

If we take out the word “reverse”, you get an email address search. You use personal data to figure out the person’s email addresses. A reverse email lookup does the opposite.

It lets you identify the owner of a valid email address. What’s more, it can give you so many other details. We’ve listed some of the bits of info it could provide below:

  • Personal information – Full name, location history, mail address, marital status, and close relatives.
  • Contact information – These may include phone numbers and other email addresses.
  • Social networks – Social media accounts along with the files in there, such as photos and videos.
  • Criminal records – These may include other public records and court records.

The personal data you could dig up will depend on your methods. Sometimes, you may have to pay for the other sensitive details. You might be asking, “Are reverse email searches legal?”


The answer will depend on your country’s laws and the methods you’re using. If yours is part of the European Union, it should follow the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR.

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If you’re from the US, your email lookup tool should comply with the Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA). For other methods, it’s mostly legal, except for certain cases.

What is the purpose of reverse email lookup?

This is a person performing a reverse email lookup.

You might be surprised that it’s not just for tracing strange online messages. Other folks use it for many other reasons. Here are some examples:

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  • MarketingCompanies may send emails to promote their brand. This takes time and money, so they want to make sure the emails go to real people.
  • Identifying online sellers – E-commerce platforms like Amazon make it easier for people to sell stuff online. However, some people may use these to scam people. A reverse email lookup can help a buyer verify a seller.
  • Finding a loved one – We tend to drift farther from our friends and family members. We could use a reverse email address lookup to find them and reconnect.
  • Checking an online friend – Let’s say you found someone nice on the internet. You’re not sure if they’re a real person though. If you’re not careful, you might get scammed. Fortunately, a lookup tool can determine if they’re real or not.
  • Risk analysis – Believe it or not, businesses can get scammed too, even the big ones. For example, Emmanuel Nwude sold a fake airport to a Brazilian bank for $242 million! A reverse email lookup can help them avoid such schemes.
  • Background checks – Employers use this method to screen job applicants. They check social media profiles and other information to see if a person will fit their company.

Read More: The Best Remote Marketing Jobs Right Now

How can I do a reverse email lookup?

This is a laptop.

There are so many ways you can perform a reverse email lookup. These include manually scanning search results or simply using an online tool. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

  1. Google search – Copy and paste the address on the search bar, and Google will pop out results. Search engines may not work if the person is trying not to be found online.
  2. Social media sites – Billions of people use Facebook and other similar platforms. This probably includes the person you want to find. Type the email address on social media platforms, and they may find a hit.
  3. Photo match – Websites like TinyEye let you trace the source of a photo. This could lead to that person you want to identify. Also, you may just drag and drop that pic on Google Images.
  4. Online tools – Some sites can do a reverse email lookup for you, such as CocoFinder and Spokeo. As we said, you may have to pay for these services.

Are there any issues with it?

This is an iPhone's Mail app.

Reverse email lookup methods aren’t foolproof, though. You should know their flaws, so you can get the most out of your search. Let’s get into more detail below:

  • Paid results – We mentioned that you might have to pay for online tools. Worse, a free service may redirect you towards a paid one.
  • Search limits – Some tools can only look for addresses that are in certain domains. For example, Hunter may only show results for business emails.
  • Results take too long – Let’s say you have a large online business with thousands of customers. Imagine how much time you’ll waste searching each name one by one! This is why some online businesses place email analysis features on their platforms. It’s much easier and faster compared to doing a reverse email lookup manually.
  • Data quality – Some online tools go through old databases to provide results. Outdated info makes your online search useless. You might get better results if you perform a Google search instead!

Final thoughts

Former US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once had an issue with his online info. A professor told his class to search him on Google to show how much personal info is out there.

Scalia denounced the class exercise, saying you shouldn’t do something just because the law allows it. This example shows that data privacy is a matter of “give and take.”

It’s up to you how much of your sensitive info will come out of a reverse email lookup. When you do it, take note of your intent. You may want to research first before performing these methods.

Learn more about what a reverse email lookup is

Is there a free reverse email lookup website?

You may find numerous free reverse email lookup sites, such as Spokeo and CocoFinder. Note that you may receive low-quality data if you use a free service. Some of these free tools may redirect you to a paid service. Others charge a fee so you can see the info they’ve found.

Can I look someone up by their email address?

An email address can help you find someone. For example, you may search that address on Google to see potential matches. You may find better results if you input that email address on social media sites like Facebook. Some websites may perform a reverse email lookup, showing you their identity and other personal info.

How do I find an unknown email sender?

If you received a message from an unknown sender, you have many ways to identify them. First, you may search their email address on Google. If that doesn’t work, perhaps you may find better results on social media platforms like Twitter. What’s more, you may try one of the many reverse email lookup tools on the internet.

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