How can I trace back the origin of an email?

Hobbers September 20, 2011

I need to find the origin of an email that was sent to me. I believe my ex sent it, but I am not able to prove it. My web host won’t help without a court order.

  1. Mango Wodzak
    September 24, 2011 at 8:57 am

    you could also signup with, then use their service and reply to the email that was sent you.. (just tag to the end of the email address, and when the email is opened, you will be able to see the location of the user who opens it).

  2. Mulder
    September 24, 2011 at 4:23 am

    If you want to find out where an email came from, register for Spamcop at; then paste the headers into the text box and click Process Spam. After about 7 seconds, it will give you a report of how that email got to you, including forged IP addresses, open proxies and relays, and it will tell you whether or not it can report it to the responsible ISP, and if so, gives you a button to click to do that.

    It's free, but for the fastest service you should pay each year.

  3. Jeffery Fabish
    September 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Yes, find the headers, they will identify which IP that address sent it, however that alone won't be helpful if you can't prove she possessed that IP address when she sent the email. She most likely has a dynamic IP address so it would have changed by now, regardless. 

    In the headers you'll find her ISP as well. They will be able to tell you if she possessed that IP address at the date shown in the email. However still, there are ways that someone could have simply sent the mail from her network (or computer, such as malware) to you and it would seem as if she did.

  4. James Bruce
    September 21, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Copy and paste the full headers here and we'll have a look for you. (Should be on your email app somewhere, with view -> headers). Your ISP wouldn't know anyway, all they would be able to give is an IP address and that should be in the header anyway.