1.Try variations of the email address
If search engines don’t return any useful results with an exact search, you can try extracting usable bits of information from the address. For example, if the sender address is ‘email@example.com’, you can just extract the name – John Johnson, and work with that. This is not a bulletproof method, but it might put you on the right track.
2.Try People Search Services
There are various people search services around the web, which are essentially the Internet equivalent of a phone book. You can check these services and see if you can get a match for the email address you want to trace. Services like Pipl or Spokeo use complex searching algorithms that can dig up a lot of information, but there are numerous other services that do a similar job as well. Some of these services will only inform you if they found any results but won’t display them unless you sign up for a paid plan.
3.Request info from their ISP
An IP-based search might lead you to an apparent dead-end at some point, but that doesn’t mean you should stop there. You may consider finding what Internet service provider the IP belongs to, and getting in touch with said provider. However, ISPs usually have privacy clauses in place, so unless the person sending you the emails does something illegal such as trying to scam you or threaten you, chances are you won’t get very far with this option. Still, it’s worth a shot.
4.Identify Phishing Attempts
If you receive an email from a financial institution, or other type of institution, claiming that you confirm your personal details, chances are you’re looking at a phishing email that is after your personal data. Finding out who is behind such emails might be a bit complicated, but not impossible. The easiest way of identifying a pishing email is by looking at the sender’s address – if it doesn’t look anything like an official one, chances are it’s a scam. Even if the address appears genuine, there might still be a catch, if there is a different reply-to address in the body of the email. If that’s the case, use the reply-to email as the base of your search, and just go through the steps above.
5.Reverse Image Search
Some emails, especially marketing or scam ones, might make it look like they’re coming from an individual person, and come with an attached picture in the signature area. Whether that person is real or not can be determined fairly easily by doing a reverse search on that image: simply save the image to your PC (after scanning it with an antivirus software – you should never download contents from an email coming from an untrusted source without scanning them), go to the “Images” section in Google, and in the right side of the search field you should see a camera icon – click on it, upload the picture and hit “Search”. If the person is real, chances are that picture will show up somewhere else as well, such as on a social media profile.