How to Determine Who Sent an Anonymous Email

By Contributing Writer

Many email addresses are free to create and free to use. In fact, many people think they can use email addresses anonymously. However, no email is truly completely anonymous. if you really want to determine who sent you an anonymous email, read on for some helpful tips.

Step 1

Acquire the IP address. This information is found in the header of the email. The IP address is the address of the computer from which the email originated. For example, if you are using Yahoo! email, click on the "Full Headers" link in the bottom right-hand corner of your email. The header information from the email will appear on your computer screen. Next to "Received From" is a code separated by a series of periods--this is the IP address.

Step 2

Go to an IP address lookup site like Find IP Address (see Resources below). Scroll down to "Trace IP Address." Type in the IP address you located in Step 1 and click "Enter." The city and state of the IP address will appear.

Step 3

Sign up for a service like Read Notify (see Resources below), which allows you to trace an email that you send. After you visit the Read Notify website and register, you may send an email back to the person who sent you an anonymous email and add "" at the end of the email. This allows you to trace the email through the Read Notify service. Once the end user has opened the email, a map will appear on the Read Notify service showing you where the email was opened.

Step 4

Obtain a subpoena from law enforcement officials and through your local court system if the person sending you anonymous emails committed a crime against you. Once a subpoena is generated that requires the email provider of the anonymous email user to show who the person is, law enforcement can obtain the exact street address of the computer from which the person is sending you emails. This is perhaps the most exact way of determining who is sending you anonymous emails.

Tips & Warnings

  • Not all IP addresses are traceable.Not all email addresses are traceable.

References & Resources