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In Digital Marketing Last updated: June 30, 2023
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Since we all own an email account, we’re no strangers to phishing attempts and scams.

These emails are designed to defraud you by gaining your credentials, such as your name, phone number, and even your bank information.

No, the subject lines of these emails don’t come with a warning. Instead, it’s usually someone posing as a banker or a legitimate business to gain your trust.

If you’re paranoid enough like me, you probably guess a phishing email at first glance. Sadly, many people fall victim to fraudulent emails or second guess the authenticity of an email.

After all, you could confuse a genuine cold email with a phishing attack. How to verify if it’s a legit email?

You can verify the email sender’s identity and protect yourself from becoming a victim in several ways. Read on to learn how to put an email under the microscope and be on top of scams.

Cold Email Vs. Spam Email

Cold emails can be annoying, but some can be valuable to us. With a spike in phishing attacks and email scams, the difference between a genuine email and spam can seem thin.

However, it must be detected to ensure we remain safe while allowing authentic emails and the numerous opportunities they bring.

Since it’s not the easiest to differentiate between cold emails and ones that are spam/scams, let’s look at some key differences that make cold emails legit, as opposed to scams.

Knowing the difference can help you detect a cold email from a suspicious one and make an informed decision. Here’s what sets the two apart:

#1. Personalization

Cold emails have a personal touch to them. They deliberate on your needs and pain points and offer you a specific value proposition to help you. They intend to continue the conversation through various means and methods.

Scams, on the other hand, have no personalized information and have no intention of dialogue. You’ll notice it’s just a plain ad to entice you to click a link or provide sensitive information.

Also read: Best URL Scanners to Check If a Link is Safe

#2. Honesty

Cold emails are transparent about the intent of the message. You can figure out the intent from the subject line itself and don’t have to guess where the email is heading. These emails usually provide value, address your pain point, earn your trust, and try to initiate a conversation.

Scams, however, make no effort to earn your trust by addressing your needs or frustration. It unabashedly sounds sale-sy with a shady subject line designed to entice you into opening the email and possibly asking you to follow a “fishy” link.

#3. Buyer-Focused Vs. Product-Focused

Another striking difference is that genuine cold emails put the buyer or the customer in the spotlight and focus on their likes, dislikes, goals, and pain points. 

On the other hand, scammers or spammers focus on promoting the offer, irrespective of the receiver’s likes, dislikes, or whether the offer is even relevant to them.

Most genuine cold email senders research potential customers and offer relevant products, as opposed to spammers who send a generic email promoting one product to thousands of people.

Now that you know how to distinguish between authentic emails and scams, you can protect yourself from falling into their trap.

Difficulty in Finding the Email Sender’s Information

While some scam emails are quite easy to detect, some are crafted thoughtfully enough not to sound generic. This is where you might need some help.

What do you know about an email’s sender? Their first name? Their last name? And if you’re lucky, a picture. That’s about it. It’s not like Facebook or LinkedIn, where you can glean information about their hometown, where they went to college, or what’s their pet’s name. 

They’re practically ghosts on email until you actively try to find their identity. While it’s difficult to garner information about an email’s sender, there are some tried and tested methods that you can utilize to gain as much information as you can to plan your next steps.

Once you know who’s behind the email, you can figure out the authenticity of it. Let’s dive into the different methods that’ll make finding someone by email easier.


Google indeed has all the answers, so naturally, the first smart thing to do when you get a suspicious email is to ask Google for the sender’s identity.

Suppose the sender has inserted their email addresses into their social media accounts. In that case, there’s a possibility you could find their profile or pages and gather more information on them.

Simply go to the search engine and type their email address on the search bar. If the sender or their company has any online presence (which nearly all legitimate ones do), you could hit the jackpot and find some valuable information on them.

This will help you identify whether the email is legit or not.

Verify the Email’s Domain Name

Since a domain name is a crucial part of any online business, identifying and verifying it from the email can help you study more about the sender. The domain name of an email is basically a unique address that’s used to identify the company.

However, remember that something like isn’t exactly what you’re looking for because we all know what Gmail is. If you receive an email with a different domain (for example,, that’s when you need to verify.

In the following example, np is the username, and neilpatel is the domain name.


Once you have the domain name, you can paste it into Google and verify it. Alternatively, you can also use a website like Whois to dive deep into the details, such as their address, domain registrar, etc.

Find the IP Address of the Sender

An IP address is a unique string of numerals that identifies each device or network connected to the internet. This means – if you manage to track the IP address of an email address, you can trace the email sender’s other information.

Tracking IP addresses to find the location is a widely common practice that even some law enforcement agencies employ.

You can track the IP address of any sender with the help of your Gmail account. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Log into your Gmail account and open the email you want to trace.

Step 2: Look for the 3 dots at the top right corner of the email and click on it. A drop-down menu will appear. Click on where it says Show original


Step 3: You’ll be guided to the email header page, which includes various information about the sender. Click on the button that says Copy to clipboard


Step 4: Use an email tracer tool, such as WhatIsMyIPAddress. Scroll down to the box that says Trace Email Analyzer. Paste the email header inside the box and click Find Email Sender

Step 5: Scroll down until you see the IP address of the email. Copy it and visit an IP Location Lookup tool like IPLocation. Paste the IP address you copied into the search box to find out the location of the sender.

And that’s it! Now you know where the sender is located in.

The fact that there are tools to track an email sender is no surprise. That’s how advanced the technology has become to protect individuals from fraud. Here are some of the best tools you can use to perform a reverse email lookup:

  1. Spokeo
  2. Reverse Contact
  3. Hunter

Follow the below steps to do a reverse email search:

Step 1: Visit the reverse email lookup of your choice. For this example, I’ll be using Spokeo.

Step 2: Enter the email address of the sender or search by entering other details such as name, phone number, property, etc.

Step 3: Click on Search Now. The website will take some time to detect the location, background information, and other key details about the email address.


You’ll get all the necessary information once the search is complete. As you can see, there’s family background, social networks, blog updates, etc.


Most of these tools allow you to see limited results as a free user, so you’d have to get a subscription if you want to go deeper.

If finding all the details about the sender is important to you, and the other methods didn’t give you satisfactory results, I’d totally recommend getting a subscription or paying a one-time fee.

Utilize Social Media

Another excellent way of finding someone by email is to search for them on social media. This method is effective if you have at least some basic information about the sender, such as their name or location.

Most people have their email attached to their Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter accounts. Simply go to any of the social media platforms and search for the person by their email. If you’re lucky, your sender will have something linked to their email account, and you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

Install a Google Chrome Extension

Assuming most of us already use Google Chrome as a browser, it would be ideal to use an extension to mine out more details about a sender.

There are many extensions that get the job done, but one that solely focuses on fraud detection and customer intelligence is SEON.


It’s an extension that gives you extensive information about the sender, including data from over 50 social platforms. It gathers all the crucial information to help you remove the anonymous mask and be better informed.

Moreover, it also provides a detailed domain WHOIS information and calculates risk scores. It’s incredibly easy to use yet robust in reporting. You can get started with the free plan.

Closing Thoughts

Finding someone just by their email address doesn’t have to be challenging. With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can gather essential information about a sender and learn whether their email is legit or just a trap to swindle you.

The methods mentioned in this post are some of the best ways to glean information about an email’s sender and verify its authenticity to protect yourself from scams.

Next, learn to find anyone’s email address using these amazing tools.

  • Adnan Rehan
    Adnan is a BMS graduate and a senior writer for Geekflare who loves breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand pieces. He has also written for sites like Sparkian and Techkle. Besides work, you can find him on the football turf or… read more
  • Rashmi Sharma

    Rashmi is a highly experienced content manager, SEO specialist, and data analyst with over 7 years of expertise. She has a solid academic background in computer applications and a keen interest in data analysis.

    Rashmi is… read more

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