It’s not to risky to say that some of you have surely been annoyed by someone through emails exchanges.
A concrete example is the one my brother has experienced. Last year he wanted to go to London for a few days so he spoke by emails with someone who lives there and who promised him some hosting solutions in exchange of only one thing: make a transfer through Western Union to himself (from my brother to my brother), just in order to verify if he has a credited account. At this point my brother had never heard about Western Union Scam, but that did not last long.
I have no idea how (I’m not aware of Western Union processes) but this guy managed to steal the money transfered from my brother. Then you surely have already guessed, he did not answer anymore, neither from his email neither on the web forum where my brother found him (craigslist.com).
Actually he had two solutions:
- ignorance (just can pray to hope the bank will restore the stolen money),
- strike back by finding his real identity.
The hack that I’m going to describe you has permit to my brother finding the real identity of the scammer only with his email and to engage legal pursuits against him. At the moment, they are still in tribunal procedures.
How to find real identity behind an email
Maybe you already know services like Spokeo or Pipl in order to reverse an e-mail but, be honest, it is as relevant as 123People. There are two simple ways to parse huge databases of people’s email to see if one is corresponding.
Web 2.0 services with dynamic « lost password ? » page
As described by Karim, Facebook had this kind of password recovery page. It seems that it’s not the case anymore. The only other website that I know and which has the same kind of page is Quora, directly on the home page. Just try by pasting in the form the Robert Scoble‘s email: email@example.com. You will see the famous blogger’s face appears :)
Web 2.0 services with dynamic address book import
A lot of social networks or web aggregators offer you to find your friends by connecting directly to your address book through your email address. This feature retrieves emails of your contacts and looks if they match with someone’s subscription address.
You only have to import the email into your address book (you can create a hotmail/gmail account just for this purpose) and import your address book into twitter + Facebook. This way, you will parse around 600 millions emails. Here is a non-exhaustive list of services which have the feature (the links lead you directly on the feature’s page):
There are a lot of chances the person you are looking for has signed up on one of these websites.
Let us know if you the tip worked for you, or if you know other tips like this. We are trying to make the reverse email lookup the more relevant as possible.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions through comments below.