Here’s a quick how-to guide on how you can track email to it’s originating location
by figuring out the email’s IP address and looking it up. I have found
this to be quite useful on many occasions for verification purposes
since I receive lots of emails daily due to my blog. Tracking the IP
address of anemail sendor does require looking at some technical details, so be ready to dig your heels in!
There are basically two steps involved in the process of tracking an email: find the IP address in the email header section and then look up the location of the IP address.
Finding the IP address of an email sender in GMail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook
Let’s go ahead and take a look at how you would do this for Google, Yahoo and Outlook since those are the most popular email clients.
1. Log into your account and open the email in question.
2. Click on the down arrow that’s to the right of the Reply link. Choose Show Original from the list.
Now here’s the technical part that I was telling you about earlier! You need to look for the lines of text that start with "Received: from". It might be easier to simply press Cntrl + F
and perform a search for that phase. You’ll notice that there are
several Received From’s in the message header. This is because the
message header contains the IP addresses of all of servers involved in
routing that email to you.
To find the first computer that originally sent the email, you’ll have to find the Received From that’s farthest DOWN. As you can see from the above image, the first one is from a computer called "aseem” with the IP address 126.96.36.199. Then it was routed to my ISP’s server at eastrmmtao104.cox.net and so on and so forth till it got to your email server.
The computer aseem is my personal home computer and
that’s my public IP address for my house! I’ll go through Yahoo and
Outlook before talking about tracking the location of that IP address.
Yahoo Mail Beta
1. Log into your account and open the email (if you’re using Yahoo
Mail Beta with the new preview interface, make sure you double-click on
the email so that it opens in a new tab)
2. At the top right, you’ll see there is a drop-down option where Standard Header is selected by default.
3. Click on it and choose Full Header.
Again, you’ll see the same information as before, just in a different window:
1. Open the email in Outlook by double-clicking on it
2. Go to View at the top menu (the menu options for the email, not the main Outlook window) and choose Options.
You’ll get a dialog box where you can set the message options and at the bottom you’ll see the Internet Headers
box. For some silly reason, the box is very small and you have to
scroll a lot, so it’s best to simply copy and paste the text into
Notepad to view it more easily.
Tracking the location of an IP address
Now that we have our originating IP address of 188.8.131.52, let’s
find out where that is! You can do this by perform a location lookup on
the IP address. My favorites are IP2Location and GeoBytes IP Locator.
GeoBytes gave me a big map of New Orleans, LA along with a bunch of other information about the location itself.
IP2Location also gave me the same information pretty much, including
the ISP (Cox Communications). Of course, this is correct since I live in