How to track spam

An e-mail message is divided into two parts, the headers and the body. The headers contain all the technical information, such as who the sender and recipient are, and what systems it has passed through. The body contains the actual message text. The headers and body are separated by a blank line.

Return-Path: <>
Received: from ( []) by (8.12.8/8.12.8) with ESMTP id h2A2DEKn014546 for <>; Sun, 9 Mar 2003 18:13:20 -0800
Received: from schiz (localhost.localdomain []) by (8.12.5/8.12.5) with ESMTP id h2A2SLK6001601 for <>; Mon, 10 Mar 2003 02:28:26 GMT
Received: (from macs@localhost) by schiz (8.12.5/8.12.5/Submit) id h2A2SEuw001580;
Mon, 10 Mar 2003 02:28:14 GMT
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 02:28:14 GMT
Message-Id: <200303100228.h2A2SEuw001580@schiz>
To: "John Smith" <>
From: "Jane Macs" <>
Subject: urgent.. please read!

Dear Mr Smith
Thank you for your interest in our products.

Spam can be tracked by viewing the headers of the email. The Received header contains the name of the mail server, the date and time the mail passed through it. Each time an email passes through a mail server, a new Received header is added with the newest one always being at the top.

There are cases where the Received header is forged. The top-most Received header can be trusted as it is inserted by your mail server. The first Received line above tells us that the email was sent from the IP address

Viewing email headers

Scroll down to the mail client software you are using to find out how to view the email headers.

To copy all the text, press Ctrl+A to select it. Then create a new email message and Press Ctrl+V to paste.


  • Open the email by double clicking on the subject line.
  • Click the blah blah blah button to view the email headers.

Microsoft Outlook

  • Click on the folder that contains the e-mail message.
  • Right-click the email message and select Options to view the email headers.

Microsoft Outlook Express

  • Right-click on the message and then select Properties .
  • At the top of the new window select the Details tab.
  • Click on the Message Source button to view the email headers.

Netscape Messenger 4.x

  • Click on the Options menu.
  • Select Show Headers and select All to have all the email headers displayed.

Pegasus Mail

  • Click on the Reader menu.
  • Select Show all Headers to have the email headers displayed.

Anti-Spam solutions

Eland Systems