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How to Verify If An Email Address Is Real or Fake: A Guide

Feb 14, 2022

Email marketing has one of the highest returns on investment out of all the digital marketing channels. And even with countless new trends and social media platforms, people still read emails and buy from them. 

But how do you make sure you’re reaching actual real people?

If you’re struggling with suspicious emails and wondering whether your emails are going to reach someone’s inbox, worry not.

We’ve prepared a handy guide to help you verify whether an email address is real or fake – in just a few easy steps.

How to check if real emails are valid

Email validation is the process of ensuring that an email address is valid and exists. This is important for email marketing as it improves ROI by reducing the number of bounced emails. A bounced email is a message that is returned to the sender because the mail server could not deliver it to the intended recipient.

Bouncer - email validation tool

If your business or marketing company adds several email addresses to your mailing lists on a regular basis, there is a chance that many of them are spam addresses, misspelled, or otherwise invalid. Because of this, whenever new email addresses are added to your marketing list, it’s important to check for valid emails.

When checking if an email address is valid, it will give you peace of mind that the email addresses that you have on your email list will have a high email deliverability rate, and no catch-all addresses, disposable email addresses or spam traps will be included. 

Additionally, it is important to be aware of phishing emails and fake emails that use free email addresses or addresses from fake domains. In order to improve deliverability, it is important to validate emails and eliminate any hard bounces, which are emails that are permanently undeliverable.

Why you need to check for real emails to use

If you do not take steps to check if an email address exists, you could risk increasing your bounce rate and damaging your reputation as a sender. As a result, email providers are more likely to mark the messages that you send as spam emails, and there is a lower chance that your messages are going to reach their intended audience.

You could even find your IP address or messages put on a blocklist, which will damage your sender reputation even further.

how an email blocklist works


The good news is that it is fairly fast and inexpensive to check if an email address is real, and, in turn, this will ensure that your email messages are delivered to the intended recipient. This will then lead to better email deliverability and profitability due to higher levels of customer engagement and you can kiss spam emails goodbye. 

It can be done in real-time, as soon as a user requests to register on a website or as part of an organization’s email list management process. By validating the entire email list in real-time, it ensures that the organization has a high deliverability rate, as well as avoiding sending emails to non-existent mailboxes. 

This can save money and time as well as provide a positive experience for clients. Additionally, it can also prevent the creation of fake mailboxes which can be used for sending phishing emails or other malicious activities. 

Real-time email validation can be integrated into a website’s registration process to ensure that only valid addresses are accepted and added to the organization’s email list. This type of email verification service ensures that you don’t get fake leads with invalid emails, credit card details and more.

Sending an email to check for a real email ID and password

The simplest and most straightforward way to check if any email address is real is to send an email to it. This can be an ideal option for smaller marketers who are just starting out and do not have a lot of email addresses on their mailing lists.

a password window

It can also be useful if you only add a few new addresses to your marketing list every month. If you send an email to a fake address, it will bounce back, and you will receive an email reply from your service provider to let you know that the message has not been delivered or the email address could not be found.

Password recovery to check for real email address and password

Have you ever tried to get into an old email account only to be told by the provider that the email address could not be found? Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo are the three main email service providers that include an email address validity checker during the account recovery process.

Along with being an online tool that can be used to help users recover their accounts when they’ve forgotten their passwords, you can also use it to check that you have the correct address.

You can use this method to your advantage with any Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo email domain. All you need to do is go to the recovery page for each service and enter the address that you want to verify. If the address does not exist on a generic domain such as these ones, you will be informed of this.

IP address lookup to verify email addresses

Another way to verify email addresses is to perform an IP address lookup. This method is actually less complicated than it first sounds.

The IP address lookup is used to determine an IP address geolocation, and each message you receive via email will come with the IP address of the mail servers that it originated from hidden in the source code of the message. You can view the message’s code and find the IP address under ‘received from’.

Then you can copy and paste the IP address into an address lookup tool. Press search, and you will find the ISP and company associated with the IP address along with its location.

However, while this method can tell you if an address is real and where it originated from, you will not get any information on the address’ deliverability or whether or not the domain that it comes from is reputable.

Google search

While a Google search might not be able to tell you if an email address is real or if it is a disposable email address, what it can do is provide confirmation that an email address is valid. This is because most people have some kind of presence online, either on social media or with their own websites and blogs, for example.

Major search engines such as Google are constantly crawling the internet and indexing everything that they find. As a result of this, when you search for an email address, a valid address that actually belongs to a real person will often be findable with a simple search, while an invalid or fake address is unlikely to yield any accurate results.

While this is a handy method to check a single email, it can take hours if you have a larger database. Instead, using an email verifier is a quicker and more painless solution.

Email verification tools

Fake email addresses and messages are a red flag and they are becoming a large problem for every email marketer, which is why it’s no surprise that there are lots of bulk email verification and checking tools now available on the market.

You can use an email checker to easily validate a list of email addresses with just a few clicks. There are both free and paid options available, although the free options will usually limit you to a certain number of checks per month.

For example, Bouncer can immediately show you if you’re dealing with a fake email address or not. We can check hundreds of thousands of emails per hours and with our advanced email address verification methods, we can weed out the legitimate emails from the fake ones easily.

How to choose a tool for verifying email addresses

When your business uses marketing email campaigns to engage with and advertise to customers, it’s important to make sure that all mailing contact lists are updated and that any emails included in them are valid, which allows you to ensure that all emails are delivered successfully.

Using an email validation tool is the best way to save time to get a better deliverability if you have a large email list that new subscribers are regularly added to. Some main features to look out for when choosing an email checker tool for your business include:

Syntax errors

A good email address verification service should be able to check the email validity by detecting syntax errors. Some may even have additional features including providing suggestions for the actual email address if spelling mistakes are found.

Domain issues

Another check that a good email checker should perform as standard is searching for invalid or non-existent domains. This check will look at the domain, email server, and email account to ensure that they are all existent, valid, and can receive email. Along with domain verification, the tool should also search for and identify catch-all addresses.

Online email validators such as Bouncer can help spot generic email domains and highlight fraudulent emails effortlessly.

Spam traps

A spam trap is a fake email address that looks real but is not really valid. They are used by some email providers and anti-spam organizations to catch malicious senders. These emails are created as a type of spam filters for people who send the same email to an entire organization. 

spam filter


You should always choose a bulk email verification tool that can verify email addresses that may be on your mailing list, to avoid your business looking like a spammer. With a proper tool for checking email validity, you can ensure that you don’t stumble into a spam trap. They will show up in any bulk email verification process and you can bypass spam filters with ease.

Consequences of sending messages to invalid addresses

Sending emails an invalid email address can hurt your email sender reputation over time, which is why it is so important to use an email checker tool to make sure that all email addresses included are valid and deliverable.

When you send emails to an invalid email address, this can significantly increase your bounce rate, which can, in turn, harm your email sender reputation and make it harder for messages that you send to valid email addresses to be delivered.

If you send email marketing messages, one of the most important things to do is make sure that you are only sending messages to real, valid email addresses, and we believe that Bouncer is the most reliable way. Start your free account and try before you buy with 100 free credits.

Wrapping up

If you want to make sure your emails don’t end up landing in the spam folder and instead drive high open rates and new conversions, checking whether they’re real or fake is best first step to email marketing success.

Try out Bouncer today for free and we’ll show you how quickly you can verify thousands of email addresses. You’ll immediately know which addresses are good to go and which ones you can say goodbye to.

Frequently asked questions

Can you check the email validity for free?

Using an email validation service is the simplest way to validate email addresses, if they are real and valid, free of charge. Many services offer free tools for up to a certain number of addresses and allow you to quickly verify email addresses in real-time.

What is a valid email?

A valid email address refers to an email address that is in use, can receive messages in the inbox, is associated with an existing domain, and has the correct syntax.

Why is my email address invalid?

There are several potential reasons why your email address is not valid. Some of the most common reasons include the email address not existing on the email service provider’s servers, or the format not using the correct syntax or poor spelling.

What happens when an email is sent to an invalid address?

Most of the time, if an email message is sent to an address that is not valid, the email servers will not recognize the address and the legitimate sender will receive a message bounces to inform them that their message cannot be delivered to the address.

However, in some cases, where the email is a catch-all email address, the sender will not receive mail to let them know that the address is not valid.

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