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How to Trace the Source of an Email to Determine Its Legitimacy?

Users receive multiple emails on a daily basis, some work-related, some personal and others from unknown sources. Sometimes it can be difficult to know which of these emails are legitimate and which aren't. Have you ever received an email from the government requesting your Social Security Number, a payment company stating your card was declined, or a website that claimed you were a contest winner? If you've ever doubted the authenticity of these emails, you can track their source location. These types of emails are ones in which you should trace the source to find your answer. Tracing the source of an email can be very useful, especially for verification purposes. In this blog, we'll show you how.

Why Tracing an Email Is Important

Tracing the source of suspicious emails is often necessary to confirm their legitimacy. If you openly trust an email requesting money or pitching some sort of scheme, you risk exposing your data to thieves who want to steal your personal or financial information. However, some emails are actually honest. For example, if you receive an email from the prince of Saudi Arabia telling you you've won a million dollars, the chances are its fake. But if you receive one stating that you owe money to Amazon for a previous purchase, it may be more difficult to tell. Tracing the email can solve this problem for you.

How to Trace an Email Source

When an email is sent, the sender's Internet Protocol (IP) address is used as a label attached to the header of the email. Knowing the IP address will help you trace its source and find out where the email was sent from. Finally, once you find the source, you can determine whether it was legitimate or not.

Finding the header is dependent on the program you are using. Here are a few of the most popular:

Gmail

  1. Open the email you'd like to trace in your inbox.
  2. Click on the drop-down arrow situated in the top right corner of the email.
  3. Click “Show Original” in the options box.
  4. The header will open in a separate tab showing all the email information.

Hotmail

  1. Open the email in your inbox.
  2. Click the drop-down menu next to the "Reply" tab.
  3. Select "View Message Source".
  4. A new window will appear with the information.

Outlook

  1. Open the email in your inbox.
  2. Click "Options" or "Tags".
  3. Here you will see the headers in the "Internet Headers" option.

Yahoo Mail

  1. Open the email in your Yahoo inbox.
  2. In the lower-right corner of your email, click the "Full Headers" box.

When you have identified the email header, simply copy the entire header and paste it into an email tracing tool. For example, Iplocation.net is a great website that can identify the source of any email through a free or paid version. The tool will scan the header for the sender's IP address and use that information to verify their location.

Limitations of Tracing an Email

Tracing an email is useful for determining the legitimacy of a suspicious email, but there are limitations. Although tracing an email's IP address can often show the location of the user within a mile, sometimes the IP address only returns the country origin. Further limitations stem from the network that the email was sent through. If a malicious email was sent from a public network, tracing the IP address will only return the public network rather than the location of the device. This means that diagnosing a suspicious email can be difficult.

Hacking and data theft is a common occurrence, so it is important to protect yourself and your information. The next time you receive an email that doesn't seem right, trace its IP address and find its source. By correctly inserting a logo and using the correct wording, a malicious email can appear genuine, so avoid the trouble and trace your emails through iplocation.net.

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