7 Ways to Check Email Address Owners
This article is part of a larger series on Sales Management.
Learning how to check email address owners before you hit send increases the chance your message will reach its intended recipients. It also helps protect you from falling for email phishing scams or from wasting your time replying to an illegitimate source. Here, we explore how to trace an email address to its owner using Google search and browser extension lookups, along with each method’s underlying benefits.
1. Google Search
The first and easiest way to check email address owners is to use Google. If you have received a message from someone who didn’t leave a name or email signature, Google’s search engine is a good starting point. Plus, you can also use it to confirm an address from an email list you purchased. When you search the address, you’ll be able to see if it matches the information on a directory, web page, or online profile such as LinkedIn.
Alternatively, other search engine platforms like Bing offer the same functionality despite not being nearly as popular as Google. There’s also DuckDuckGo, which lets you search the web without being tracked, storing your personal information, or following you around with online advertisements.
Pro tip: Use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to store and organize the email addresses you confirm on Google. CRMs such as Zoho CRM and Salesforce act as a sales database full of leads and their contact information. This lets your sales team easily find email addresses or phone numbers to make email introductions, follow up, or verify a sender if an unknown contact sent an email message.
2. Social Media
Using social media profiles can be a valuable method of how to look up an email address—assuming they made that information public. Before launching lead generation campaigns, conduct prospect research to confirm email addresses are accurate or find prospects to target.
For business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses, use Facebook and enter the email address into the search bar, where a profile will come up if there are any matches. If you’re a business-to-business (B2B) organization, LinkedIn is a great site to use. While you can’t search email addresses for matches, you can search and view profiles. Many users publish their professional email addresses on their page even if you aren’t connected with them.
Pro tip: Combine your sales and social media management systems by investing in a CRM with social media integration capabilities. HubSpot, for example, is a popular CRM system that also lets you make posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Plus, you can monitor keyword mentions, track interactions, and use social media platforms for lead data enrichment.
3. CRM Auto-enrichment Tools
Many CRM platforms have data enrichment features or artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that automatically keep contact information up to date. These tools work by monitoring publicly listed information, and include a company website’s contact page and social media profiles where data, including the email address, is constantly updated.
The main benefit of this method of email address lookup is the automation capabilities. Instead of manually searching on Google or Facebook, let the CRM feature do it for you. Freshsales is a CRM system that combines its auto-enrichment tool with its AI feature, called Freddy AI. On a contact profile, users can enter an email address and have the remainder of the profile enriched with all other data and web links associated with that address.
4. Browser Extension Lookup
If you are a Google Chrome user, you’ll love this particular method for how to trace an email address to its owner. Browser extensions such as FullContact compile robust information from your Gmail accounts. Whether you receive an email from a new contact or just do an email owner lookup, this tool pulls in other information from the web such as their job title, company, phone number, and social media links.
An alternative Chrome extension option is the supplemental tool available in Copper CRM. Similar to FullContact, you can look up email address owners or have data compiled as messages are received from new addresses. The main difference here is that Copper is also a full CRM system that can manage leads, contacts, tasks, opportunities, and projects in one platform.
5. Trace the IP Address
Tracing an IP address using an email header is a sophisticated option and useful if you’re trying to confirm an email address for security reasons. The process will slightly vary depending on whether you use Outlook, Gmail, or Yahoo systems, but ultimately involves the same steps.
When you receive a message, go to the message options to view the email header, which will be in different spots based on your email provider. Once there, you can view the IP address where the email came from. Next, you can search the address using an IP address search tool such as whatismyip.com for additional data.
There are a few limitations to using this method. For instance, if the sender used a virtual private network (VPN), address information may not be accurate. This is because VPNs, by design, hide your IP address in order to provide you with an additional level of internet security protection.
6. Use Paid Services
To compile information from all sources at once and gain additional insights on someone, you can invest in a paid service such as Spokeo. This platform lets users search contacts by name, email address, phone number, or social media profiles. This service then pulls from white pages, public records, websites, and social media profiles to obtain results for anything associated with that person.
In addition to receiving contact information, Spokeo provides address history, work history, and family connections to each person, but costs between $15 and $20 per month. You can also unlock an individual profile for as low as 95 cents. Because it’s a paid service, we recommend it for sales teams who heavily use email marketing or email introductions in their sales activities.
7. Contact the Company Associated With the Email Domain
The final option for how to find the person behind an email address is simply by asking. If you received an email from a new sender, want to verify one from a list, or want to make sure an address is accurate before making an introduction, you can call the organization and ask. Most email address domain names are associated with the organization they came from.
If you receive a message from an address without a name and you’ve exhausted all other options, Google the company name on the address for a phone number. Call the number and ask them to confirm the address is from their company and find out who the contact is. This method should ideally be used as a last resort if the other options fail, as it does take more time.
Why Check Email Address Owners?
If you don’t know how to trace email address owner details, you can’t verify the sender of a message or confirm the address you’re sending to. There are also additional security, sales productivity, and data-integrity reasons. Sales management leaders should ensure tools and processes are in place to help their team with email verification.
Here are the main benefits of checking email address owners:
Many cybersecurity incidents are sourced in an email message phishing for credentials or attempting to get someone to download a malicious file. Verifying an address from the sender helps determine whether the message is legit and if the sender is who they say they are.
Crafting personalized email messages often takes ample time and research to get robust response rates. All of that time is wasted, however, if the email address is inaccurate. This is why you need to check email address owner details.
Email addresses are some of the most essential information you can have on a lead or customer, as it’s used for lead generation, lead nurturing campaigns, and promoting special offers. This makes it critical to keep your data up to date and accurate at all times.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Sometimes, you can track a person using their email address if they set up that email with recent information including their name, address, or phone number. Otherwise, you can use an email finder like People Look Up to find information about someone linked to a certain email address. Also, you cannot trace a person’s actual location using just an email address.
If a person used their real name to set up their Gmail account, you can use Google Calendar to find out the owner. Use the “share to specific people” option, then click “add people.” Enter the email address and the owner’s name and profile picture will appear. For more accurate results, you can use an email finder like People Look Up to trace the owner of a Gmail account.
Knowing how to trace an email address to its owner is powerful for remaining secure, being more efficient in sales activities, and data integrity. The methods presented range from no-cost to paid options, manual to automated processes, and standalone vs integrating with other software such as a CRM. Based on the tools, budget, and technical knowledge you have, these seven approaches to email verification will meet your specific business needs.