How to Find Out Someone's Real Name Using Their Email Address

By Laurel Storm

Updated August 29, 2017

You can try to find out who's behind the email mask.
i Hemera Technologies/ Images

The anonymity offered by the internet can be a great boon, but also a huge annoyance. Because there is no rule requiring that internet users associate their real name to their email address, many people simply don't – leaving you to wonder who this "fuzzyslippers85" who's been sending you emails actually is. If you don't have the legal authority to just demand information from email providers, there are other ways of finding out somebody's real name from an email address, although none of them is guaranteed to work.

Just ask nicely. If there's no reason to hide your desire to know somebody's name, sending a polite email is likely to get the result you want, especially if you've already had friendly contact with the person before.

Check the domain of the email address – the part after the @ symbol. If it's a free email provider such as Gmail or Yahoo, proceed to the next step. If it's a custom domain, however, visit the website associated with it and try to determine whether it is a personal website for the owner of the email address. If that's the case, his name might be somewhere on the website, such as on a page listing contact details or in the copyright information. If it's not, run a WHOIS search on the domain. Unless the person you're curious about chose to keep his details private when he registered the domain, his name will be listed in the results.

Run a Facebook search for the email address. If the person you're curious about used that address to register for a Facebook account, it'll appear in the search results.

Run searches for the email address, using both normal search engines such as Google and specialized people search services such as Pipl or Spokeo. You can also try searching for the user name alone (the part before the "@") using both Google and Knowem, a specialized search engine that checks whether a particular user name is taken on social networks. You will have better luck if the user name is fairly distinctive. For example, "daffodil_racecar" would be easier to track down than "racecar_lover1972."