How to locate a person by email
The users’ IP address, in principle, is protected by the servers that distribute electronic mail. However, although hidden, the email headers contain the tracking data of the messages, including the IPS of the sender, recipient and email service providers. This article will show the limits of the procedure that reveals the user’s IP, used to locate him geographically.
It is possible, although unlikely for some email services, to track the sender’s IP, because the message headers contain hidden confidential information. They reveal the sender and the receiver, the servers through which the e-mail passed, the attachments, the dates of sending and receiving and the form of the text (plain text or HTML). Therefore, the IPs of the sending computer and of the servers, distributors of the mail, are registered in them.
How to Access the Source of Email Messages
It is through the Origin of e-mail messages feature, that we can access the HTML page where the hidden header data is.
To find the IP, for example from Gmail, just open the message, click on the three dots menu, next to the reply icon and select Original message:
In the open window, you will find, at least and in most cases, the provider’s IP.
Now, with a right click on the window, select View page source. The IP can be revealed in one of the following fields: X-Originating-IP or Received: from
To facilitate the search for these expressions on the HTML page, type the keyboard shortcut CTRL + F and insert them in the search field (top right).
As an e-mail goes through several SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) servers, most of the IP addresses revealed in the headers correspond to the intermediary servers or e-mail service provider and not the sender’s e-mail. Also remember that if the email was sent via Gmail or Outlook, the actual (of the sender) IP probably does not appear.
In Outlook the path is similar to that of Gmail. In the inbox, open a message and click on the three horizontal dots icon, at the top of the message body on the right. Scroll through the menu until you see the option Show message source :
In this way, you will have access to a window containing all the information of the e-mail sender, just explore them by sliding the command on the right side margin.
If you prefer, you can also click inside the newly opened window and simultaneously press CTRL + F to open the search box and type X-Originating-IP and Received: from. The IPs appear, in brackets or parentheses, although and only the IPs of the servers and providers are usually revealed.
It is worth remembering that the e-mail goes through a series of SMTP servers and most of these IP addresses, in the headers, correspond to the successive servers through which the e-mail passed.
Find the IP address
If you are able to know the sender’s IP address, to locate it geographically, simply access a search engine, such as Google, type in geoip lookup. Several sites will appear that will be able to locate the IP. However, don’t expect to find an address with a name and street number. At best, you will get the name of the city or area corresponding to the provider’s server, it may even be a nearby city and country, especially if the sender sent the email from a 3G / 4G connection.