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What Is Reverse Email Lookup?
Reverse email lookup tools let you enter an email address and get the owner’s personal data. This usually includes a first and last name as well as an address and phone number. You may also obtain links to their social media accounts and additional technical information about the email address itself.
Reverse email lookup is a form of data enrichment, where you attain extra information based on a limited number of data points. It may be combined with other data enrichment solutions, such as a reverse phone lookup or BIN lookup, to complete a picture about a certain website visitor.
SEON’s email lookup tool lets you gain personal information about someone using their email address. By searching public databases and social networks for links to that email address, it can reveal the email owner’s first name, last name, social media accounts, and much more.
Why Use Reverse Email Lookup Tools?
Both companies and individuals rely on email lookup tools. They tend to use email lookup tools for three key reasons:
- Marketing: For marketers or sales teams, it’s essential to check if the email addresses they have collected are valid. Because you don’t want your email marketing newsletters to bounce, it’s wise to confirm you’re dealing with real people as soon as possible.
- Background checks: Usually performed by professionals who need more info about a potential hire, a prospect, or a business contact. Some individuals request them too, for every reason you can imagine, including getting the full picture about a new romantic interest, learning more about someone who got in touch out of the blue, or, unfortunately, cyberstalking.
- Risk analysis: Small and large businesses can use reverse email search to learn more about their users in the context of fraud prevention, risk assessment, and cybersecurity.
The above professionals are the most likely to employ these tools – but they can be equally useful to other fields as well as to private individuals, on occasion.
Of course, not all reverse email lookup tools are created equal. Let’s see what you should consider before signing up.
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How Does Email Lookup Work?
Most of the time, you can simply enter the email address into the reverse email lookup tool and press Enter. The results will appear directly on the website. Some providers also deliver PDF reports.
For more advanced lookups, you can use API calls or web browser extensions. You can also upload lists of email addresses via CSV file or Excel spreadsheet.
6 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Reverse Email Lookup Tool
- What is my goal? Are you looking to create more complete customer profiles? Do you handle riskier transactions? Do you need more information on prospects or customers?
- How often will I need to use the tool? This may influence the kind of pricing model you should consider.
- How detailed do I need the results to be? This ties in with the goals of your queries, especially if you are in the risk management sphere.
- Does the tool comply with my legal data protection requirements? Obtaining data on users can put your company at risk if it’s done with the wrong tool.
- How fast can the results be delivered? Some people will require near-instant results, but some tools can take days to deliver results.
- Will I need additional information? Finally, consider whether you need to deepen your search with a reverse phone lookup or IP analysis, for instance, as phone numbers can act in a similar way to email addresses. Some tools offer this while others do not.
For this comparison article, we’ve tried to eliminate all the tools that were obviously out of scope based on the five points above and the limits mentioned below.
What Are the Limits of Reverse Email Lookup Tools?
The first limit obviously has to do with the freemium model of some of these email lookup tools. In fact, the trick some of these companies use the most is that the search is free, but getting the results is not.
Another annoying issue would be to think you’ve found a free service, only to realize it sends you towards a paid one.
Something else to consider, especially for marketers, is that verifying webmail addresses can be difficult or unavailable. For instance, hunter.io lets you clearly know that it only works with professional domains.
Then there are issues with speed. If you are, say, an ecommerce shop that needs to verify the email addresses of large amounts of users in real-time, your only option is to plug in an email analysis API into your system. The results with risk analysis tools are near-instant. With other services, you have to enter addresses one at a time and wait upward of 5 minutes to get the results.
Also, do not mistake reverse email lookup tools with an email search or email finder. An email address search tool is designed to find an email address based on a name; this is the opposite. The email search market is made of completely different tools.
Finally, there’s the issue of data quality. Ideally, you want data that’s fresh and up to date. But a quick test reveals that many of the tools mentioned here must go through very old databases to acquire their personal information, which defeats the purpose.
In fact, with some background checkers, you can often get better results simply by typing the email address into a search engine yourself.
You can read more about how to find information manually on our guide on OSINT techniques.
The 6 Best Reverse Email Lookup Solutions to Try Today
Below, we’ve identified and are reviewing six email lookup solutions you can try today, including the pros and cons of each one as well as where they excel.
Please note that we have done our best to ensure all information is up to date at the time of the latest update to this guide. Feel free to contact us to request an update/correction.
SEON – Best for Risk Management
Let’s start with a solution that works great for fraud prevention, risk management and general business protection. As the name suggests, SEON’s Intelligence Tool gives you extra data to make intelligent decisions about whether you should accept a user action or not.
That action can be a transaction or signup. Checking whether the user appears to exist or not is particularly useful as a pre-KYC check, so you can avoid paying for the verification of junk users. For a transaction, you’re also protecting yourself from chargebacks.
As for the kind of info you get, the SEON Intelligence Tool lets you know everything you need about the email address domain. Its key feature, however, is the reverse social media lookup, which finds whether the address has been used on 35+ social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Booking.com, Airbnb, and more, and gleans information from there.
With this reverse email lookup solution, the results are instant, you can perform the checks manually, via API or with a Google Chrome extension, and you even get a risk score to help your decision making.
- Features: real-time results, API integration, Chrome extension, reverse social media lookup
- Best for: risk analysis, pre-KYC check
- Pros of SEON: real-time results, Chrome extension, 35+ checks of social media and online platforms
- Cons of SEON: not suited for ad hoc checks or individuals
- Pricing: €300/month for up to 4,000 checks. There is also a free 30-day trial.
For more information, visit the SEON Intelligence Tool product page.
Snov.io – Great for Marketers
Snov.io – or Snovio – has all the features you might need for validating email addresses and it’s blazing fast, delivering results in under one minute. Like many other tools, it uses an SMTP-MX check to verify the deliverability of the address.
You can upload bulk addresses and export the results in CSV, XLSX, or Google Sheet formats. Another strong point is that this tool’s customer service gets loads of praise from users. Note that Snov.io also has an email finder/email search function, which can be handy for marketers.
- Features: SMTP-MX check, fast results, API check, email finder
- Best for: verifying email address lists
- Pros of Snov.io: easy to use, 100 free checks a month
- Cons of Snov.io: only does email verification, convoluted pricing model
- Pricing: You pay in Snov.io credits. Each verified email costs 0.5 credits. You get 50 free credits a month and you’re only charged if the email is valid. There are then five monthly plans depending on the number of credits you need, from 1,000 a month ($33) to 100,000 ($615 a month).
For more information, visit Snovio.com
BeenVerified – Good for Background Checks (US only)
The free version of BeenVerified will give you email verification and a few more data points: in some cases, the person’s name from LinkedIn, and a check for two linked social media accounts (Twitter and LinkedIn). It is for US use only and will trawl through legal documents to locate info on criminal records and bankruptcy reports. Each search takes 2–10 minutes.
Be aware that although BeenVerified says checking is free, getting all the results is not. It costs $28.86 a month, although there is usually a 7-day trial available, which costs $1.
- Features: legal document check, basic social media check
- Best for: checking on leads or potential hires
- Pros of BeenVerified: checks criminal records in the US
- Cons of BeenVerified: at the pricier end of the spectrum, results fairly slow and US-centric
- Pricing: You’ll need the $28.86 monthly plan to use it freely. Otherwise, it’s a 7-day trial for $1, or $5 with PDF downloads.
For more information, visit BeenVerified.com
InfoTracer – Unlimited Subscription for Lookups
InfoTracer bundles all its services together with its unlimited plans, which means you’ll get reverse email lookup along with people lookup, background lookup, and court lookups.
Like BeenVerified, they will attract you with a “free” search, but you actually need to pay for the results. Like their closest competitor, they’re also very much a US-centric background check company.
The tool looks at public records, including criminal records, court records, along with a few social checks and vital records (birth, death, marriage or divorce). You can also get a professional background check by looking at publicly listed licenses, such as a lawyer or electrician license.
- Features: legal document check, basic social media check
- Best for: US background checks on potential hires, business partners or romantic interests
- Pros of InfoTracer: fast checks, unlimited checks with subscription plan
- Cons of InfoTracer: at the pricier end of the spectrum, results fairly slow
- Pricing: Your first report costs $3.95. After 30 days, you’ll be charged $19.05 per month for unlimited checks.
For more information, visit InfoTracer.com
Spytox – Lightweight Data Enrichment
A simple online tool, Spytox also lets you look up by name or phone number. The advantage is that it’s completely free and fairly fast, so it is ideal for ad-hoc searches.
Unfortunately, the tool didn’t seem to work 100% of the time during our testing, and the results were mixed in quality, rather than “explosive”, as the website promises.
It could be a nice help for a manual review, but we wouldn’t rely completely on Skytox for risk management or marketing.
- Features: free for name and phone number lookup
- Best for: free checks of single email addresses only
- Pros of Spytox: free, works fairly fast (5 seconds)
- Cons of Spytox: the success rate was really hit-and-miss during our tests
- Pricing: It’s completely free.
For more information, visit Spytox.com
RecordsFinder – Sketchy US Service for Background Checks
RecordsFinder is so similar to BeenVerified and InfoTracer, one has to wonder if they’re not all run by the same people. In fact, you could pretty much copy and paste what we wrote about their two competitors and apply it here: Free check but expensive subscription to get results, US-centric, and good for background checks using public documents.
But we do have an additional word of warning: Reviews for RecordsFinder seem to be on the negative side. A Reddit user mentions having their Chrome browser hijacked by RecordsFinder ads, probably after they clicked that suspicious button.
If, however, you do go through with a subscription, at least it’s a tad more affordable than similar products, at $14.98 per month.
- Features: free, search by name or phone number in the US
- Best for: scanning public records
- Pros of RecordFinder: none, really
- Cons of RecordFinder: shady business model, expensive
- Pricing: it costs $15–$20 a month for unlimited search access, with one free month.
For more information, visit RecordsFinder.com
Working with SEON gives you complete user profiles in an instant, helping you to reduce fraud rates.
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What Is Email Lookup?
Email lookup is a tool or technique that allows you to find someone’s email address based on their personal data. For instance, you could type in someone’s first and last name or phone number, and the tool will deliver the person’s associated email address.
Comparison of Reverse Email Lookup Tools 2021
|Name and address||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Social media check||35+||No||3–5||3–5||No||3–5|
|Speed||Real-time||2–5 minutes||10 minutes per check||10 minutes per check||2–5 minutes||10 minutes per check|
|US public records||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Email address verification||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No|
|Extra features?||Risk scoring||Prospect quality campaign building||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Pricing||$99/month for 1,500 checks||$33/month for 200 checks||$20–$30/ month for unlimited checks||$20/month for unlimited checks||Free||$20–$30 / month for unlimited checks|
What Data Can I Get From an Email Search?
One advantage of using email to research user information is that there is a vast amount of information associated with email addresses. This is why using these tools is also referred to as doing “email background check”. They are also a lot more specific than, say, finding information about a device or IP address.
Email Address Validity
The first question a reverse email search can answer is whether the email address is real or not. This is verified using an SMTP check. In short, the tool sends a request to the email address domain (@gmail.com or @yahoo.co.uk, for instance) and checks if the address exists.
Email Domain Type and Quality Verification
There are high-quality domains and others that are less trustworthy. It all has to do with how hard it is to open an account on them. For instance, gmail.com sounds reputable but it is free, and it is easy to create an account. Other providers have more stringent verification processes, such as SMS verification, which makes them more secure.
Then, you can also check the email address’s age. If it has been recently created, it could be more suspicious. A more mature address could mean it is more secure – unless of course it has been made public in a data breach (see below).
Custom domains such as mywebsite.com are easy enough to check because you can easily see if the domain exists. If it does, you can also glean the domain registration date. This is common for both personal websites as well as business emails, but fraudsters can abuse those as well.
Email Address and Social Media Lookup
One of the most powerful ways to check the validity of an email address these days is to see if it has been used to sign up to any social media platforms. Also known as social media profiling, this process will check if the address is used by someone on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook, among others.
This is because a good social media lookup tool will also provide information about the person’s name, location, workplace and bio – all information that would take a tremendous amount of time to collect manually, especially if you need to do this for a long list of people.
Email Address Found on Data Breaches?
A good tool can compare the address to those found on data breaches. Finding an address in one of those breaches helps us get an idea of how old the email address is, and how regularly it was used, but it may hint at illicit use if a fraudster took control of it.
Email Blacklists Check
Another way to check if fraudsters have already used that email address is to look for it on public spam blacklists. If someone’s registering with a known spammer address, you might want to block them or verify their other details manually, as the account holder might not have control over the mailbox anymore (or worse, it could be a malicious address).
Email Address Quality Evaluation
Finally, an interesting data point that can be hard to measure: how likely is it that the email address was created by a real user vs a bot or fraudster, both of whom need to work fast. This has to do with the quality of the email name itself.
Using string analysis, a good email profiling tool should be able to see if the email address looks genuine, or if it’s just been generated automatically. For instance, using a large amount of numbers or special characters can be suspicious. Same if the name in the handle and account are different.
What Is the Best Email Lookup Tool?
Finding information about someone based on their email address has plenty of use cases. It’s great for marketers, human resources, curious individuals, and risk managers.
However, not all tools are created equal. And because there are so many different scenarios for using one of the tools, it’s hard to recommend a clear winner. However, the below might help guide your decision.
- Best for risk management: SEON wins hands down with its frictionless integration, speed and efficiency.
- Best for marketers: Snov.io is a great way to validate email addresses for leads or contacts. The email finder and email search are also good for finding leads.
- Best for human resources: InfoTracer and BeenVerified both seem to do the job without being too spammy. Be aware that you can probably get the same results by manually searching through files yourself – it would be more time-consuming but ultimately much more affordable.
Just remember to do your due diligence before you sign up for any of these services. They should offer a free trial so you can test that they’re right for you.
Hopefully, this article has served as a good filter to point you in the right direction. As we’ve seen, email lookup is a powerful tool for various uses, and finding the one that works best for your needs can deliver convenience and added value.
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Frequently Asked Questions
No, we are completely transparent with our pricing structure, which you can find on our website (volume discounts are available as well as a non-committal free trial).
Most email lookup tools enrich data from open-source databases (OSINT). SEON’s Intelligence Tool aggregates device, IP and social media information.
It depends on the tool or service. For SEON, all data sourced is GDPR-compliant, ensuring legality and compliance with the necessary regulators for the EU.
No, all of the above checks have no impact on the user. Keep in mind that, depending on their privacy settings, you can visit the profiles directly, which for certain platforms like LinkedIn can notify the user in question.
It’s worth noting that the domain can also reveal more about the data provided. Disposable domains are at high risk as these are just throwaway email addresses. Meanwhile, custom domains may need further inspection, as fraudsters might use this method to get whitelisted.
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Bence is the co-founder and COO of SEON whose vision is to create a safer online environment for merchants in high risk verticals.