Trace an email address in the most popular programs like Microsoft Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, and AOL.
- Find The Email Header
- Starting Email Trace
- Interpreting The Data
What Is An Email Header?
Each email you receive comes with headers. The header contains routing information for the message, generally including the originating Internet Protocol address. Not all electronic messages you receive will allow you to track them back to the point of origin and depending on how the message was sent determines whether or not the email trace will be successful.
The headers don't contain any personal information. At most, the results of the trace with show you the originating IP and the computer name that sent the email. After viewing the trace information, the initiating IP can be looked up to determine from where the message was sent.
The IP address will identify the city, state, and ISP information and will not be able to provide street name, house number, or phone number data.
Finding The Email Header
Each electronic messaging program will vary as to how to get the message options. The following are the basics that are needed to start the trace.
- Outlook - Right click the message while it's in the inbox and choose Message Options. A window will open with the headers in the bottom of the window.
- Windows Live - Right click the correspondence while it's in the inbox, choose Properties, then click the Details tab.
- GMail - Open the correspondence. In the upper right corner of the email you'll see the word Reply with a little down arrow to the right. Click the down arrow and choose Show Original.
- Hotmail - Right click the memo and choose View Message Source.
- Yahoo - Right click the note and choose View Full Headers.
- AOL - Click Action and then View Message Source.
As demonstrated from the above statements the headers are usually a simply right click from the message.
Starting The Email Trace
The next step to trace an email address is to find the first IP listed in the header. This is most likely the IP initiating point. However, there are exceptions to this. You'll have to look at the information logically to deduce the originating IP.
Interpreting The Data
Results useful? Yes and No. For example, someone who sends a message to your hotmail account shows in the X-Originating IP section of the headers. However, someone who sends you a message from GMail will ONLY trace back to Google IP addresses.
*This is not intended to be a thorough explanation of the law, nor does it attempt to offer legal advice. If you intend to make full use of this law, you should first consult an attorney. However you choose to use this information is with your full responsibility and at your own risk.