Anonymous asked in Computers & InternetComputer Networking · 6 months ago

Can the police find out the ip address of the email that was sent?

Imagine you got blackmailed with a threatening message that got sent to you on gmail. If you get an email message that is threatening you in a certain way, like demanding you for money, can the police try to find the origin of the criminal activity by getting the ip address of the online activity which involves a sent message on gmail? 

If so, how can the ip address of an online activity be retrieved?

5 Answers

  • 5 months ago

    The message only contains the public information of the sender, so it is really easy to spoof or hide your location. An IP address is only any good to trace if it is issued to you and just you. Most home IPs are dynamic so they are allocated to you at that time and you get a new one if you turn your router off. This being the case, when you send a mail, the mail service can capture the IP you are using to send it, so if it is sent from a public wifi, or a VPN service you hide the origin. Making it untraceable, or at least really hard to find. If you were a bit less savy and did send it from home or work, then they get this address your provider would then have to tell them your name and address.

  • Lv 7
    6 months ago

    yes. i know because i can.

  • Anonymous
    6 months ago

    Yep, the basic information is visible in the email itself, in the "headers" before the visible subject and content.

    If you are using gmail, click the three dots to the right of the title line then download message.

    Open the file with a text editor such as Notepad++

    You can see the message header info there.

    If using eg. Thunderbird for email, double click the message in the list then go to the "More" pulldown at the top right and select "View source".

    Other email programs or sites have similar functions.

    Note that the commonest "blackmail" emails are purely scams, such as ones claiming they have recordings from your webcam & demanding payment to delete the material. 

    The same email is sent to many thousands of people in the hope that a few pay up; the only thing they really have is email addresses and other fragments of data from compromised web site user lists.

    [Email headers can be faked / spoofed, the simplest way for criminals being using a hijacked machine to send messages - that's what is used for many spam and most phishing emails. That then need the authorities to find out who is controlling the hijacked email sender].

  • Adrian
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    If send via any of the web services, like Gmail, Hotmail, etc. the police would have to get an order to get the mail service to open their logs to find the originating IP address of the sender (person who was logged into the web mail service). From there, they can track the ISP and find the person who was sending that email.

    It does not necessarily work all the time. If the sender was using a VPN from a foreign country, odds of tracking them is very low. If they used a public wifi, like a library or coffee show, and a junk email account, it would be hard to trace (but not impossible in some cases)

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  • 6 months ago

    yes, it is usually available in the email headers

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