How to Find the Person Behind an Email Address
When you are searching for candidates via search engines, sometimes you will find lists of attendees that are not connected with the names. You know that it was some meetup or event for salespeople (for example) and you need to connect the email with the name and the name with the LinkedIn profile.
Few years it was much easier to do that, you just ran those emails via Facebook or Google+, and there was a high chance that you would get a match. However, after the GDRP many ways to find via email address were blocked, but there are still many ways to discover who is behind an email address you just found on the internet.
Seven Ways to Identify the Person Who’s Behind the Email Address
1. Do a Google Search
This is the fastest way to find an email address and Google is my first port of call when I am trying to identify who is behind that email address. Typing the email address into the search field could bring the results; you can add quotes (” “) at the start and the end of the email address, like this: “[email protected]“. This will reveal the pages that contain an email address.
If Google doesn’t return any results, the next step is to run the query on Bing, Yandex, and other search engines. Yes, Google doesn’t index everything, and sometimes you can find more information on other search engines.
You can use Chrome plugins to enrich the data for that email address. One of the best tools for that was Rapportive; however, this tool was required by LinkedIn, was renamed on “LinkedIn Sales Navigator” and it’s not that good anymore. There are few other options like FullContact for Gmail or HubSpot Sales that you can use too.
3. People Search Engines
There are many people search engines you can use; however, many reverse email search engines only offer data about a prospect when you pay for it.
One free option that you can use is Pipl.com or ThatsThem.com (but this one does not show the correct data every time, for example, my email address is connected with somebody else). You can also try sites like socialcatfish.com (also a paid service) that works quite well; however, you will need to have an IP address outside the EU because your access is limited because of the GDPR.
LinkedIn is also one site where you can try to run your search for an email address. Many people have their private emails posted on their profile.
5. Search Social Networks
Sometimes people use various nicknames in their emails like something42@. They are not showing their names for various reasons, and because we are creatures of habit, and we have a tendency to be connected with our nicknames, we use them in several places on the internet. And because of that, you will have a chance to find those people on other social websites where you can find their names or more clues that will help you to locate them.
You can try to run that nickname through Knowem It is a tool to check for usernames. And if that person is using that nickname on the other social networks, this tool will find it.
Another tool that does something similar but is not that well known is http://com.lullar.com/
6. Database Leak
You can run this email address through Have I Been Pwned, and if there is a match, there is a high possibility that person is going to be still on that website from that leak. This search will get some hints about where to search for that person. For example, if the leak is the LinkedIn database, there is a chance that when you search for that email via LinkedIn (Option 4 in this list), you will find that person there.
Of course, if you found that database leak or some site that is offering users to search in those DB leaks you can find the name connected with the account. You can even try some deep web search engines to check the email address. However, keep in mind that there are legal issues with accessing those data, GDPR concerns, etc. so I am not recommending that. I am just mentioning this as an option that exists; I am not suggesting you should do that.
7. Bonus Tip – Data Enrichment Tools
I discovered this method/tool when I was trying to find the person who stole my article and posted it on his domain. He didn’t include any contact details (or form), and he was trying to hide all information about him because all the articles on his site were stolen.
I had to get his email address first so I could reach him; however, there was no contact form, and the WHOIS search was blocked because of the GDPR. However, after few minutes probing the site, I got the login names he was using on his website. That led me to the email address he was using on Gmail. However, that email wasn’t connected with a name; he was using only a nickname in it.
I did a search via Google and other services and found that this person was also creating apps on Google; this gave me an idea about his location, and after some time I collected enough information about what the person was doing, where he was living, etc. This small hunt turned into a small sourcing game for me.
And during that search, I discovered a useful tool called DeBounce.io. I ran his email address through this tool and got his name. Then I ran his name over LinkedIn and found the person who matched all the information I collected about him.
DeBounce offers Data Enrichment, and it adds the email owner’s full name and photo in 40–70% cases. This DeBounce data is sourced from over 80 public and private sources. Sometimes it will reveal only a photo and not a name, but you can run that photo via a Google Image search to find the name of that person.
There are many other ways to discover the person behind an email address like checking similar domains, accessing WHOIS history, etc. Sometimes, even if you try all of them, you will never find who is behind it, but this small manual should give you an idea of where to start looking and what source you can use to find that person.
And if you are looking for a way to find a person behind an email on a social profile, you should check this article.