How to Check if An Email Address is Fake: 3 Methods That Work in 2019

July 15, 2019
Written by Jesús Diaz

email address

Did you know that about 111 Billion emails are sent every day? Or that more than 90% of employees don’t know how to differentiate between a valid email and a phishing email.

In today’s world you can’t never be sure about a particular address unless you have all the information available. So, with most employees not being able to tell the difference, what are your chances?

How can you make sure that an email address isn’t fake? This largely depends on your definition of fake for this matter.

In email security a fake address can either be an invalid email or an address used and controlled by spammers or pretenders. Rest assure by the end of this article you’ll know how to tell one from another. Also, you will be able to check them yourself using different options and methods of approach.

How to check for invalid emails that can’t be reached.

There are few ways to do this, from free options to paid alternatives. Each with a varying range of accuracy and swiftness. Ideally a service that checks for invalid email addresses would be free, accurate and fast. Since reality is usually far from the ideal case let’s take a look at the best options.

Option #1: Ping and email address to verify it.

Free, accurate and slow.

So, as an example let’s say that you have to verify the email address "[email protected]". First things first, open telnet, if you’re using windows, alternatively you can use the PuTTY tool.

Now, open the command prompt and type “nslookup -type=mx”. This will display the list of MX records on the domain that we’re using for this example. The list looks something like this.

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A single domain can have various different MX records. For the next step just pick one and send a message to it. If you don’t know ho to do that just connect to the mail server and enter “telnet + server + 25”. This looks like this.

Then just type “HELO” to send a salute to the message. After that you can use a disposable address to send an email. In this case we want to send an email to "[email protected]". You’ll get the information you need using the “recipient to” or “rcpt to” command. If the address exists, you’ll get an “OK” as a response, if not, you’ll get a 550 error message.

Such errors can be “The email account that you tried to reach does not exist”. Or “The email account that you tried to reach is disabled”. In this case you know for sure that the email address is not a valid one.

This method is accurate and can be done by almost anyone. The downside is that it usually takes a few minutes to verify an email address.

Option #2: Email from a free address.

This option is really straight forward. Just create a free email address with a free ISP like google or Yahoo. Use this new account to send a message to the possibly fake address, wait a couple minutes and check if the email bounces. If it does then the address is definitely fake.

Sometimes you have to wait longer than a few minutes, this can actually take up to a day. This basically depends on the server. Most of the time hard bounces are notified at the instant but other times you’ll have to wait a bit longer.

This strategy can be implemented by everyone, requires no previous background other than handling an email account. Thus, making this method popular, this however comes at the price of accuracy.

Option #3: Use an email verification software.

This option can be free or paid but is, depending of the service, accurate and fast. This is a sure way to identify fake email addresses. It searches for problems such as hard bounces, syntax errors, MX records, disposable emails and domain validation.

This option is recommended if you’re running an email marketing campaign. Using a service such as you can save time, effort and even money, this last one in the form of the revenue generated by your email marketing campaign. This method is preferred for users looking to maintain a good server reputation and get accurate results about email identification.

Essentially having a service such as this take over the identifying means leaving the job to a professional. Most companies that work in this field are in charge of validating MX records and send test emails. They also look for known spammers and check for syntax errors.

Checking for fake spam emails.

As you know now a spam address is usually a problem address to have in an emailing list. Below there are the 5 main tips to determine if a particular address belongs to a spammer or is a fake address.

  1. Keep an eye to where the emails from an address end up in. If the emails got straight to the spam folder be aware of that address.
  2. Look for large strings of number right before the “”. In addition to this, if the address is also a free one then likely this is a fake address.
  3. Check the grammar and content of the emails. Look for spelling mistakes and syntax errors. If you need an extra help with this, try using Grammarly.
  4. If the address asks for your personal information without further contact or using a ridiculous excuse, then this is a fake address.
  5. Pay attention to the greeting, if you’re referred to as “valued customer” or any other generic form, strike out. Real companies today have no need for generic forms of greetings, in fact most of these are used today in spam emails.

Do take into consideration that none of the tips above are 100% safe way to identify a fake address. However, they do make an example of the most common spam emails out there. People do make mistakes but having most of the mistakes of the list above in a single email leaves little to speculate.

Get help finding fake email addresses.

If you need a fast, accurate and reliable service to help you identify fake email addresses. Then look no further, try out for the best service available today. EmailVerify will let you get rid of spam addresses and any other kind of fake email address you might find anywhere.

Experienced and reliable, providing the best service available do make sure to try to keep a clean emailing list. If you need extra help with your email marketing campaign or just to verify a single address, this is a great service to help you.

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