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Email Headers for Gmail Users

If you get an email from someone you do not know, then you should pay careful attention and exhibit caution in reading the message. Spammers can sneak into your computer through your email and bring viruses, spyware, and other malware along. Thankfully, learning how to read your email headers can keep your computer and personal information safe from intruders.

Email Headers: The Basics

If you will be conducting a Gmail user lookup, then the email header is the place to start. But exactly what is an email header? Your email header contains a large amount of information about the email itself, including who originally sent it, the method that it used to get to you, and what other servers received it before the message arrived in your inbox. While in some cases you can take this information as it appears in the header, you also have to be aware that spammers can falsify this data, making it difficult to find out where the information came from using a Gmail member search.

Viewing a Gmail Email Header

To conduct a Gmail email search, you need to know how to find the information contained in the header. When reading the email, if you look next to the time and date stamp, you will see a small link that says "more options." Clicking this link will expand the header to allow you to see the "To," "From," "Date," and "Subject" headers. You will also see some additional links, including "Reply," "Print," and "Trash this message."

The last option in this set of links is "Show original." If you click on this link, then you will see the entire header of the message, including the information that you need to do a Gmail user search.

Identifying What You Read

In order to perform a Gmail email lookup, you will need to understand what you are reading. The "Received" tag indicates the servers that an email went through prior to landing in your email box. The last of these on the list is the original sender. You will also be able to see the IP address of the sender and their ISP domain, along with the email client that sent the original email.

Which Ones are Spam?

Once you have learned how to utilize a Gmail user search, you can figure out what emails are spam. Being able to recognize which ones are spam will allow you to report and block them before they become a problem for your computer.

One of the first things that you need to look at is the return path of the email. This is the email address to which a reply would be sent. You should look to see if it looks like a recognizable address or just a jumble of letters. From there, you should look at the "Received" tags, starting with the first one in the chain. If you see gaps in the information, or the data does not line up correctly, then a spammer is trying to forge their identity. You should also look at the ISP that was used, as spammers can only use the same ISP that you do.

You can also take your Gmail user lookup a bit further by looking at the header. The Message-ID field will show you the server that originated the message. This information should match the purported email address. For example, if the email address is supposedly a Gmail account, then the Message-ID should also show Gmail. If the email address is Gmail, but the Message-ID shows Yahoo, then you are more likely viewing a forged email header.

Learning how to recognize spam in your email can help you to protect your computer from spammers trying to steal your information - and serenity.

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