Like most people, you probably receive dozens of emails a week, many of them from unknown sources. It can be very frustrating receiving an email without knowing the sender. Unlike with phone numbers, there’s no convenient directory like the white pages and yellow pages of a phone book that lists email addresses, and many people and companies abuse this anonymity to send unwanted solicitation and engage in predatory phishing scams. 

Fortunately, there is a way to uncover the true identity of the sender of an email, and it's called a reverse email lookup. This tool works by letting you search for a person’s identity by just by putting in an email address. A reverse email lookup can help you put a name to an email address, or at the very least, uncover more information about the sender in the case that the search does not return a name.   

Why do a reverse email search? 

There are many reasons why it’s a good idea to perform a reverse email lookup to learn the name and any available additional information about the unknown sender of an email, both for professional and personal reasons. Here are some of the most common scenarios where performing a reverse email lookup is a good idea.  

Verify the identity of an online buyer/seller on an online marketplace such as Ebay or Etsy.

Ready to complete a transaction on an eCommerce platform but having doubts about the person on the other end of the sale? A reverse email search will allow you to confirm their identity, or reveal that they are a scammer that is best avoided. 

Learn more about the identities of people included in a group email. 

Have you been sent a group email for work or a social function and don’t recognize the email addresses attached along with your own? Running a reverse email search on these addresses is a quick way to inform yourself about the other folks involved. This is especially pertinent if you could possibly meet some of these people at a later date.    

Confirm the identity of someone you’ve met on an online dating service. 

There’s a lot of scammers out there so just to protect yourself, its a good idea to see if the email address tied to the online dating account belongs to a real person. You will possibly be able to find their social media profiles, as well. 

Track down an old school buddy or coworker

As time passes its easy to lose touch with people from your past. However, if you have an old email address belonging to an old friend, you may be able to find a social profile attached to the email address that will help you to contact the individual.

Methods of performing an email lookup

Perform a Google search

The simplest method of looking up an email is by using Google. Just type the email address in the search box and hit the ‘Google Search’ button. However, despite the fact that this method is simple, it may not necessarily be successful, as the search will usually only yield results if the email address is tied to a social media account, such as Facebook or Twitter. If that is not the case, then it is quite likely that the search will not yield satisfactory results.  

Search the email address on major social media platforms 

Another method of looking up an email address is by searching it on the major social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If the email address belongs to someone with a profile one of these services, you may be able to uncover basic information about the person, such as their name, job title, and a few photos, even if the account is locked to people they aren’t friends with or don’t follow on the service. Yet, this method still might come up empty if the person behind the email address doesn’t have it tied to their email account, or if they’ve set their Facebook privacy settings to disallow people from searching for them using their email address. 

Try a browser extension 

There are a number of browser extensions that allow you to lookup an email address and uncover any available information about the sender. One of the most popular is LinkedIn Sales Navigator, which has a host of features, including a tool that returns any available social media profiles behind an email address. The catch is that the cost of LinkedIn Sales Navigator is steep, costing $79.99 a month, or $64.99 per month if you pay for a full year upfront.   

Use a reverse email lookup tool  

The most effective way to find the identity of an unrecognizable email address. Just type in the email and the email lookup tool will yield results any available personal information about the person behind the email address, including:

  • Full name
  • Location
  • Country
  • Social media accounts
  • Phone number
  • Photos

There are scores of reverse email searches available on the internet, both paid and free. In the case that the email address is fake or doesn’t belong to any specific person or company, then the search will come up empty, but in that case, you are probably out of luck entirely.