If you’ve ever been harassed by annoying spam e-mail (and who hasn’t?), then you’ve probably been a little bit curious, about who sent the spam. Quite often, the e-mail address you see in the sent field, is a misleading, or fake address. Spammers are far too clever these days, to make it that easy to track them down. The fines and penalties for spamming, are getting serious, and these guys/girls really don’t want to be found out. It’s not impossible though, to track them down, and trace your email.
This may get a little technical. If you’re not too familiar with some of these terms, it may be better to start off tracking back an e-mail that’s not spam. That way, you’re more likely to see things you recognize, and that hasn’t been tampered with. What we’re going to have a look at first, is the e-mail header. The header is the best place to start looking, if you want to do a reverse e-mail lookup. E-mail headers provide the same function as a regular envelope would with old-fashioned snail mail.
You may have never seen the header from your e-mails. Generally speaking, there’s no real need for you to see the header, if you’re just reading e-mail. That’s a lot of extraneous information that just clutters up your screen. Likely, all of the information you see from the header, is the name of the person who sent you the e-mail, and the subject. The e-mail header information is however still there on your computer. You just need to tell the software you’re using to read your e-mail to show you the header information. It’s slightly different for every e-mail reader, but if you look around through the options menus, you’re likely to find a viewing option for your e-mail header.
Once you get the header information display, it’s time to do a little investigating. There should be some text in the header, that contains the words “received: from”. Actually, it’s very likely that the text appears a number of times. Your e-mail goes through multiple hops, or post offices, before it arrives at your computer. Every time it goes through one of those hops, that text is added to your header. It may be quite surprising, to see how many places your e-mail has been. There should also be IP numbers included in the received information.
While the information in the header can be a little cumbersome to decipher, if you’re at all technical, you should be able to get a little more information about the original sender of your e-mail. If you’re looking for a little more information, there are reversed e-mail address services available as well. Just google around a bit, and I’m sure you’ll find some. They are quite often paid services. There are some good free services as well. The Geobytes.com website, is a good example. Happy spam hunting!