Unsolicited commercial emails (UCE), commonly known as spam, are an unfortunate part of having an email account. However, what is worse than receiving email messages that you know are junk, is receiving electronic mail that appears legitimate because you recognize the email hostname (I. E. Gmail), but you are not familiar with the senders address and are unsure of their integrity.
If this situation occurs, you may feel that the message could contain questionable content. Thus, it is best not to open the mail and instead try to find out information on the email owner, such as their name, IP address, location, and any other details that can be provided. Why shouldn't you open the e-mail and/or respond to the sender to inquire who they are, especially if the sender is using a trusted and well known web mail provider, such as Gmail?
First of all, the message could contain malicious content, such as a virus, spyware or malware. Secondly, it might not be a good idea to initiate contact with the sender because you don't know their intentions or if they even exist, as the message could very well be spam. Hence, what you should do is lookup the electronic mail address in a reverse email lookup online.
If the address you would like to look up is associated with Google mail, you will need to find a reverse email search that includes Gmail addresses in its directory. You can achieve this by including the word “Gmail" in your general web search for a reverse e-mail directory. You can also discover this information by looking to see if the website that provides the reverse lookup service lists the subdomains it features on their site, such as in their F. A. Q section. Nonetheless, if you are still not sure, you can always go ahead with your search by entering in the address you wish to investigate to see if any results are returned.
To ensure the best results, make sure you enter the email in correctly (I. E.include any necessary dots or underscores, and ensure the domain is correct - gmail.com not gmail.net).
If you are unable to obtain free results with one reverse lookup, be sure to try others before giving up. If you are still unsuccessful, understand that this does not mean the address you are looking up does not exist or is automatically spam. The reason is free email directories are limited and most of the emails listed in their database are from email consumers who chose to opt in.
What can you do next? If you would still like to continue on the no-cost search route, you can attempt to trace the email senders IP address, which can be found in the email message headers. You can access headers through your email client. Once you have the IP address you can run a trace on it with a website that provides this service. Tracking an IP should at least provide you with the geographical location of the email sender's computer (I. E. the country, region they are located in, etc. )
Last, but not least, you always have the option to pay for a premium mail email address lookup service. It is likely you will be provided with some of the details you are looking for including the mystery email sender's name, address and possibly some demographic details, because pay lookups typically use better technology, such as web 2.0 technology, to conduct their searches.
Lindsay has been writing about web applications for 4 years and is tracking the latest trends in web development. You can check out her latest project at http://www.reverseemaildetective.com