How to Locate the Person Behind an Email Address

While looking for candidates via search engines, you will sometimes find lists of non-named participants. You know it was a meeting or event for salespeople (for example) and you need to connect the email to the LinkedIn profile name and name.

It’s been much easier to do that for a few years, you just ran those emails via Facebook or Google+, and there’s a high chance you’d get a match. However, many ways to find via email address were blocked after the GDRP, but there are still many ways to find out who’s behind an email address you’ve found on the internet.

Seven ways to identify the person behind the email address

Do a Google Search

 This is the easiest way to find an email address, and Google is my first call port when I’m trying to identify who’s behind the message.

When Google fails to return results, the next move is to run the query on Bing, Yandex, and other search engines. Sure, Google doesn’t index anything, and you’ll find more information on other search engines often.

Plugins

Use Chrome plugins to enrich the email address information. One of the best tools for that was Rapportive; however, LinkedIn needed this tool, was renamed “LinkedIn Sales Navigator” and it’s no longer that good. There are few other choices to use, including FullContact for Gmail and HubSpot Sales.

People Search Engines

You can use some people search engines; however, most reverse email search engines only provide prospect information if you pay for it.

Another free option you can use is Pipl.com or ThatsThem.com (but this one doesn’t display the correct data each time, e.g. my email address is linked to another). You can also try places like socialcatfish.com (also a paid service) which works pretty well; however, you’ll need to have an IP address outside the EU because your GDPR access is restricted.

Such paid services include Spokeo.com, Infotracer and Verispy.

LinkedIn

Additionally, LinkedIn is a platform where you can try to run your email search. Many people have private emails on their profile.

Search Social Networks

Often people use various nicknames in their emails, like something42@. For various reasons, they don’t reveal their names, and because we’re habit people, and we want to communicate with our nicknames, we use them on the internet in several ways. And that’s why you’ll find those people on other social websites where you can find their names or more hints to help you identify them.

You can try running that nickname through Know em It’s a username check tool. And if the other social networks use that nickname, this tool will find it.

Database Leak

You can run this email address through Have I Been Pwned, and if there’s a match, there’s a high likelihood that person will still be on that website from that leak. This search gives some hints on where to search for that person. For example, if the leak is the LinkedIn database, you may find that person there if you search for that email via LinkedIn (option 4 in this list). 

Of course, if you’ve discovered the database leak or some page that provides users to check for DB leaks, you’ll find the account name. Also use some deep web search engines to test the email address. Keep in mind, however, that access to these information, GDPR questions, etc. are legal issues, so I don’t recommend that. I’m just mentioning this as an option that exists; I’m not suggesting you should.

Bonus Tip–Data Enrichment Tools

 I found when I tried to find the person who stole my article and put it on his domain. He didn’t include any contact details (or form) and he tried to hide all information about him because all the things on his page were stolen.

I had to get his email address first so I could reach him, but there was no contact form and the GDPR blocked WHOIS quest. Nonetheless, I got the user names on his website after a few minutes of sampling the page. Which took me to Gmail’s email address. The address, however, wasn’t related to a name; it use only a nickname.

I searched through Google and other sites and found this person making applications on Facebook as well; it gave me an idea of his location and after a while I gathered enough data about what the person was doing, where he lived, etc. A small quest turned me into a small sourcing player. I found a useful tool called DeBounce.io during that search. I ran through this device, and got his name. Then I ran his name over LinkedIn and found the person matching all the details I gathered about him.

DeBounce provides information enhancement, incorporating the full name and photo of the email holder in 40–70% instances. This DeBounce data comes from over 80 public and private sources. Sometimes it will only reveal a photo, not a name, but you can use a Google Image search to find that person’s name.

Conclusion

There are many other ways to find the person behind an email address, such as searching different domains, accessing WHOIS history, etc. Occasionally, even if you try them all, you’ll never find who’s behind it, but this little guide will give you an idea of where to start looking and what source to use to find that person.

And if you’re looking for a way to find a person behind a social profile email, check this article.

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