How To Trace an Email Address

Easily trace an email address in the most popular programs like Microsoft Outlook, GMail, Yahoo, Live, Hotmail, Outlook simply by finding the header.  As more and more people get online there are scammers out in the world in sending fake emails. The following steps can assist in avoiding email phishing scams as well as other types of abuse.

What Is an Email Header

Each email you receive comes with headers. The headers don't contain any personal information. The headers do contain information about the routing of the message and the originating IP address of the message. The header information can help you find the IP address of the emails origination.

Not all electronic messages you receive will allow you to track them back to the originating point and depending on how you send messages determines whether or not they can trace an email address back to you. At most, the results of the trace will show you the origination 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. IP address location information DOES NOT contain your street name, house number, or phone number. The trace will most likely determine the city and the ISP the sender used.

How Do I Get The Header to Start the Email Trace Process?

Each electronic messaging program will vary as to how you get to the message options. I'll cover the basics to start the trace...the rest is up to you.

To clarify, you can see that no matter the program, the headers are usually just a right click away.

Trace Email Header From Outlook 2010, 2013 and 2019 (Windows Only)

1.  You will want to add Message Options to the Quick Access Toolbar, by selecting the little down arrow in the upper left corner and choosing "More Commands...".  If you already have Message Options on your Quick Access Toolbar, proceed to step 3 below.

Headers from Outlook

2.  On popup window with following steps:

2a.  Choose All Commands from the top drop down.

2b.  Scroll until you find Message Options... then select.

3c.  Select Add in the middle of the console.

4d.  Message Options...  (should now show up as a chosen command).

5e.  Select OK.

Headers from Outlook

You should now see the Message Options icon in your Quick Access Toolbar at the top left corner.

3.  Select the email from which you wish to get the headers.

4.  Then select the Message Options icon in the top left corner.  A box similar to the one below should appear.

Headers from Outlook

5.  Copy the data in the Internet headers box by clicking within the box and hitting Ctrl+A to select all text then hit Ctrl+C to copy the highlighted text.

6.  Ctrl+V the data into our Email Header Analyzer Tool To Find Spam and click Analyze.

Trace Email Header From GMail

1. Open the email within your web browser. Select the drop down arrow next to the reply button in top right corner and choose "Show Original".

Trace an email from GMail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Once the new page opens (example not shown for security reasons), select Ctrl+A then Ctrl+C to copy all of the data within the window on a PC. On a Mac, select Cmd+A then Cmd+C to copy all data within the window.

3.  Ctrl+V the data into our Email Header Analyzer Tool To Find Spam and click Analyze.

Trace Email Header From Yahoo!

1. Open the email within your web browser.  Next, select the “...More” drop down arrow and choose "View Full Header".

Trace an email from Yahoo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Once the data window opens (example not shown for security reasons), select Ctrl+A then Ctrl+C on a PC. Likewise, on a Mac, select Cmd+A then Cmd+C to copy all data within the window.

3.  Ctrl+V the data into our Email Header Analyzer Tool To Find Spam and click Analyze.

Email Header From Live.com, Hotmail.com, and Outlook.com

1. Open the email within your web browser. Next, select the Actions drop down arrow and choose "View Message Source".

Trace an email from Live, Hotmail, and Outlook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Once the data window opens (example not shown for security reasons), select Ctrl+A then Ctrl+C on a PC. On a Mac, select Cmd+A then Cmd+C to copy all data within the window.

3.  Ctrl+V the data into our Email Header Analyzer Tool To Find Spam and click Analyze.

I've Got the Header, Now How Do I Start The Trace?

The next step is to paste the header data into our Email Header Analyzer Tool. Our tool should return the IP attached to the initiating point. However, there are exceptions to this. You'll have to look at the information logically to deduce the originating IP.

Can You Always Trace An Email Address?

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 a Google IP addresses.

Once again, how to trace an email address to its owner can be overwhelming based on an IP address.  However, it would give you a starting point and a rough idea or location.  For the first step to trace an email address to its owner is to follow the steps above and then see where the results take you.