It’s no secret that email is one of the primary means of communication in the world today. What may be a surprise to some, however, is the ease with which email sender locations can be traced.
In this article, we will discuss 4 of the most common methods for tracing an email and provide instructions on how to use them. This will empower you with the knowledge to trace the location of an email sender and gain a deeper understanding of the digital footprints they leave behind.
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Why Would You Want to Trace an Email Address?
There are various reasons you might want to trace an email sender’s location. Perhaps you have received harassing or threatening messages and want to take legal action. Or maybe you’re trying to track down the sender of a fraudulent email.
There can be other reasons too. For example:
- Verifying the credibility of a sender
- Finding the source of spam emails
- Marketing purposes
Whatever your reason, it is important to note that tracing the location of an email sender does not necessarily reveal their identity. Location tracing only provides a general idea of where the email was sent from, not the specific sender.
Additional Reading: How to Track Email Opens
Can You Trace Email Sender Location in Gmail?
Unfortunately, tracing an email sender’s location in Gmail is not possible. The problem with Gmail is that it does not include the source IP address in the email headers. Resultantly, you’re unable to get your hands on the sender’s IP address to track them.
You might see online guides on how to extract the sender’s IP address in Gmail. However, it is not possible to do so.
For example, you may be told to go to the email and click on “Show original” in the drop-down menu that can be accessed by clicking on the three-dots at the top right corner. The SPF field may show an IP address, but this is actually the IP address of the Google server that processed the email, not the sender’s.
4 Top Methods to Trace Email Sender Location
There are 4 primary methods by which you can trace an email sender’s location: through their IP address, via a reverse lookup tool, by searching on social media platforms, and by examining the sender’s time zone.
1. Tracing an Email Sender’s Location Through IP address
Each time an email is sent, it passes through various servers before reaching its recipient. These servers add headers to the email that contain useful information, including the IP address of the sender.
To access an email’s header, open the email and click on “View message source.” A pop-up window will appear with a long string of code. Within this code, search for “Received from” to find the sender’s IP address.
Keep in mind that this method may not always work, as some senders are able to conceal or mask their IP address. In that case, you can try one of the methods mentioned below.
2. Tracing an Email Sender’s Location Through Reverse Email Lookup Tools
Another way to trace an email sender’s location is through a reverse email lookup tool, such as EmailTracer or EmailSherlock. These tools allow you to enter the sender’s email address and return information such as location, ISP, and domain history.
The way these tools work is by searching for the email address in various online databases and directories. Also, these tools may require a fee, and the accuracy of their results can vary.
3. Tracing an Email Sender’s Location Through Social Media Platforms
Another possible method to trace the location of an email sender is to search for their email address on social media or search engines. The sender may have used the same email address to register for social media accounts or websites, providing information such as their name and location.
One of the best platforms for this spy work is probably LinkedIn. Almost all professionals use their work email addresses for their LinkedIn profiles, making it a valuable resource for tracing email senders.
The drawback of this method is that many people prefer to keep their personal information private on the internet, making it difficult to obtain information through this method.
4. Tracing an Email Sender’s Location Through Time Zone
As a last resort, it may be helpful to consider the sender’s time zone. By examining when the email was sent and comparing it to the sender’s time zone, you may be able to narrow down the sender’s location.
You can find out the exact time at which the email was sent (the time at sender’s end) by opening the email and checking the “Date” field in the message header. Next, use a time zone map to determine places with the same time as displayed in the message.
Of course, this method isn’t very accurate as multiple countries can be in the same time zone. Also, people can easily change the time zone for all outgoing emails by simply changing the time zone of the device they’re using.
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Though the methods mentioned above are not foolproof, they can be helpful in tracing an email sender’s location. By using a combination of these techniques, you may be able to determine the approximate area where the sender is located.
Keep in mind that some methods are more accurate than others and that IP addresses can be masked or concealed by the sender. With patience and practice, however, you should be able to use these tools to your advantage in tracking down malicious senders.
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David Campbell is the editor of the Right Inbox blog. He is passionate about email productivity and getting more done in less time.