Email Investigation- What Can Be Learned?

Copyright (c) 2008 Ed Opperman

Email investigations are exactly what the name describes. An investigation beginning with only a person’s email address to discover who is using it and where that person is. What you can discover via investigating an email account can be boiled down to a few categories.

Internet profiling: An investigator who specializes in internet profiling will be able to use an online search through myriad engines to attempt to uncover any online activity that can be associated with a specific email. Social networking sites and online message boards are another place an investigator will typically check,Email Investigation- What Can Be Learned? Articles and through all of these combined, the investigator will begin to develop a personality profile of the name attached to the address.

Online infidelity: Online infidelity investigation is a method of research that takes an email address and from there seeks out all known dating sites to discover if the email address is being used on any of them.

Identification: This type of investigation is when a client submits an email address and needs to identify the real name, location, and/or phone number of the person who is using the address. These sorts of investigations usually occur when a person has been harassed or threatened online.

Locate: A location-based investigation is the sort of investigation you want when you already have a name to associate with an email address but require further information – usually, an address to match the name to. These are especially useful in locating teenage runaways or non-custodial parental kidnappings.

Online risk assessment: A bit of a reversal from everything mentioned above, assessment of online risk occurs when a client wants to protect their own cyber-safety and seeks protection against, say, identity theft. Thus, you retain a private investigator to do a web search and see what they are able to uncover about you. The results can be surprising!

These are simply a few of the more common types of online investigations, and as you can appreciate, there is a veritable breadth of information that can be sought out even if all that is provided is an email address! In many instances, an individual feels threatened because the email they received was an anonymous one from Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. Keep in mind that everything online can be traced and an email address can reveal its owner.