Want to learn as much as possible about someone based on an email address alone? You’re on the right track.
Table of Contents:
- What is Email Lookup?
- What is Reverse Email Lookup?
- How to Find Someone With These Tools?
- Who Uses These Tools and Why?
- 6 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Reverse Email Lookup Tool
- What Are the Limits of These Tools?
- The Best Reverse Email Lookup Tools to Try Today
- Comparison Table
- Conclusion: Finding Reverse Email Lookup That Works For You
The only caveat is that there’s no shortage of tools for the job, whether it’s for background checks or as a fraud detection and prevention solution. Let’s sort out the good from the bad in this comparison article.
But first, let’s start with some quick definitions:
What is Email Lookup?
Email lookup is a tool that allows you to find someone’s email address based on their personal data. For instance, you could type in a first and last name or a phone number and the tool will deliver the person’s associated email address.
What is Reverse Email Lookup?
Reverse email lookup tools let you enter an email address and get the owner’s personal data. It 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 sophisticated information about the email address itself.
How to Find Someone With These Tools?
Most of the time you can simply enter the email address into the 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.
Who Uses These Tools and Why?
Both companies and individuals rely on thesetools. They tend to do it for three key reasons:
- Marketing: for marketers or sales teams, it’s essential to check if the email address acquired is valid. Because you don’t want your email marketing newsletter 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, sadly, 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.
But of course, not all reverse email lookup tools are created equal. Let’s see what you should consider before signing up.
6 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Reverse Email Lookup Solution
- What is your goal?
Please review the previous section to see when it makes sense to use these tools.
- How often will you need to use them?
This may influence the kind of pricing model you should consider.
- How detailed do you need the results to be?
It ties in with the goals of your queries, especially if you are in the risk management sphere.
- Are they operating 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.
- Finally, if you need even more info:
Do consider whether you need to deepen your search with a reverse phone lookup or IP analysis, for instance, as phone numbers can act the same as email addresses.
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 These Tools?
The first limit obviously has to do with the freemium model of some of these email finder tools. In fact, the trick 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 non-paying service, only to find 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 email for 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 them 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 of course 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 post on OSINT techniques.
The Best Reverse Email Lookup Solutions to Try Today
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 verification for junk users. For a transaction, you’re also protecting yourself from chargebacks.
As for the kind of info you get, SEON Intelligence lets you know everything you need about the email address domain. The key feature, however, is the reverse social media lookup, which finds if the address has been used on 25+ social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Booking.com, Airbnb and more.
Best of all, 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, 25+ social media checks.
- 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 our product page.
Snovio – Great for Marketers
Snovio has all the features you might need for validating email addresses, and it’s blazing fast, delivering results in under 1 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. CSV, XLSX or Google Sheet formats and the customer service gets loads of praise from users. Note that Snovio does have an email finder or email search, which can be handy for marketers.
- Features: SMTP-MX check, fast results, API check, email finder.
- Best for: verifying email address lists.
- Pros of Snovio: easy to use, free 100 checks a month.
- Cons of Snovio: only does email verification.
- Pricing: you pay in Snovio 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 4 monthly plans depending on the number of credits you need, from 1,0000 a month ($33) to 100,000 ($482 a month).
For more information, visit Snovio.com
BeenVerified – Good for Background Checks (US only)
The free version of Been Verified will give you email verification, 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 get info on criminal records and bankruptcy reports. Each search takes between 2–10 minutes.
Be aware that BeenVerified says checking is free, but getting all the results is not. It costs $28.86 a month, although there is usually a $1, 7-day trial available.
- Features: legal document check, basic social media check.
- Best for: BeenVerified recommends using their service to check on leads or potential hires.
- Pros of BeenVerified: checks criminal records in the US.
- Cons of BeenVerified: it’s at the pricier end of the spectrum. Results are 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 their services together with their unlimited plans, which means you’ll get reverse email lookup along with people lookup, background lookup and court lookups. Like BeenVerified, they tend to attract you with a “free” search, where you actually need to pay for the results.
Like their closest competitor, they’re also very much a US-centric background check company. Their 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 their subscription plan.
- Cons of InfoTracer: it’s at the pricier end of the spectrum. Results are 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 lookup by name or phone number. The advantage, of course, is that it’s completely free and fairly fast, so ideal for ad hoc searches.
Unfortunately, the tool didn’t seem to work 100% of the time, and the results were mixed, rather than explosive, as they claim.
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 numbers lookup.
- Best for: free checks for one email address 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 a 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 too.
- Best for: easily scan public records.
- Pros of RecordFinder: none, really.
- Cons of RecordFinder: shady business model and expensive.
- Pricing: it costs between $15-$20 a month for unlimited search access, with one free month.
For more information, visit EmailRecordsFinder.com
|Name and address||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Social media check||25+||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|
|Extra features?||Risk scoring||Prospect qualityCampaign building||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Pricing||$300 / month for 4,000 checks||$33 / month for 200 checks||$20 – $30 / month for unlimited checks||$20 / month for unlimited checks||Free||$20 – $30 / month for unlimited checks|
|Free trial?||30 days||No||No||No||N/A||No|
Conclusion: Finding Reverse Email Lookup That Works For You
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. But still:
- Best for risk management: SEON wins hands down with its frictionless integration, speed and efficiency.
- Best for marketers: Snovio is a great way to validate email addresses for leads or contacts. The email finder and email search is 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 searching through files manually yourself, it’s just 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. But hopefully, this article will serve as a good filter to point you in the right direction.
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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.