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How to Check if an Email Address Is Valid or Fake

As time goes by, more businesses rely on email marketing campaigns as their primary source of communication with their consumers. According to Statista, there were 269 billion emails sends per day worldwide in 2017. What’s more, we expect the numbers to grow to almost 320 billion daily emails in 2021.

With these increasing numbers and competition, it is essential to run an email marketing campaign successfully. The question is, how are you going to break through the consumer’s inbox or ultimately deliver your message?

In other words, what is the key to a successful email marketing campaign?

Email Deliverability

A successful email marketing campaign will result in higher engagement with your current and potential customers. More precisely, you will get more attention, leads, and sales of your products or services.

However, to reach and keep your target audience’s interest, you need to build a good email list, one without spammers and invalid emails.

At this point, you need to grasp the concept of email deliverability.

Email deliverability refers to the ability to deliver emails to your subscribers’ inboxes. In other words, if your emails are not reaching your customer’s inbox, you are wasting money on your marketing campaign.

There is a wide range of tactics for improving your email deliverability. However, in this article, we will focus on the importance of eliminating spam or invalid email addresses.

The Effect Of Non-Existent Users

As an email marketer, you should be concerned for your sender reputation, as the ISP automatically rejects any emails that don’t satisfy their criteria or fall below a particular score.

More exactly, if you are sending emails to invalid email addresses, or non-existent users, you will increase your bounce rate, simultaneously destroying your send credibility.

That’s why it is essential to cut duplicates, typos, outdated domains, do-not-email records, bogus addresses, and other common user errors from your email list, all to attain a successful email campaign.

So, how can you filter out the fake email addresses from your email list?

What Is A Fake Email Address?

In general, we can diversify among two types of fake email addresses.

An invalid email address refers to an address in an incorrect format, one that doesn’t exist now, or it never did. For instance, example.com (no @ character) is an invalid email address.

The second type of fake email addresses is the ones controlled by spammers, spoofers, and pretenders. More precisely, these are compromised email accounts whose credentials were obtained by third-parties and used for their goals.  

In continuance, you can find several ways to identify both types of fake email accounts.

Email Address Verification

Email address verification refers to the process of determining whether an email address is valid. More exactly, a valid email address is appointed to a real person, whereas the rest of the accounts are classified as fake.      

Email verification can significantly improve your email marketing campaign. It offers a multitude of benefits, few of the most important being:

  • Avoiding Hard Bounces
  • Maintaining Your Reputation Among Email Servers
  • Checking For Catch-All Emails
  • Getting Clearer Campaign Metrics
  • Saving Money

How to Verify an Email Address?

To check if an email address is valid or not, you can send an email to it. If you get a hard bounce, it means that the email account is fake. So, you can remove it from your list.

However, this process might be time-consuming, especially if your email list is long. What’s more, getting hard bounces can harm your domain reputation, add your emails to the spam list, and negatively affect your metrics.

So, manually checking your email list might not be the best solution for email verification. Even so, it is better than continuing to send emails to wrong or invalid addresses.

Verify an Email Address without Sending an Email

To simplify, we will classify email verification methods without sending an email according to the type of fake email address you are dealing with.

Email Verification for Invalid Email Addresses

To identify an invalid email address, you can choose one of the following options :

Ping the Mail Server

To skip the need to send a test email, you can ping the mail server and ask whether the email address is valid or not. To do so, you will need a tool such as Telnet on Windows or PuTTY.

Then, you should insert the command “nslookup -type=mx” along with the email domain name.

Next, you will get a list of MX records on the domain example.com. At this point, you need to pick one of the servers and connect it to your tool.

You need to enter “telnet mail server address 25” to send a test message to the server. Then, you should type: “HELO domain name” to the server.

Finally, you can check whether the email is valid by sending the address to the server. More precisely, you should type “mail from your email address” and” rcpt to the email you are verifying.”

If the email works, you will get a message saying, “OK.” If not, you will get something like, “The email address you tried to reach is disabled.”

Even though pinging the mail server is quite a time consuming and very risky for your infrastructure, it is free, and it has proven as accurate.

Send an Email from another Address

An attractive solution that will keep the sending reputation of your email is creating a new account for the sole purpose of testing invalid addresses.

More precisely, you can create a free account on Yahoo on Google. Because you are using an alternative domain name, you shouldn’t be concerned about the email body’s content.

You should email the addresses of your interest. If the message bounces, it means that the email account is fake.

Yet, keep in mind that hard bounces may happen instantly or take anything up to a day. It all depends on the server.

Using an alternate email address is a free and relatively fast approach. However, people find it less accurate than the rest of the methods.

Use Paid Email Software

If you want to skip on manually checking all email addresses from your list, you can purchase software to get the job done for you.

Email verification tools have become a top-rated solution, as they provide accurate and fast results. What’s more, these tools offer additional guidance and support regarding your email marketing campaign.

To be more specific, email software gets rid of hard bounces, syntax errors, MX records, disposable emails, domain validation, and much more. The overall purpose is to increase your email marketing ROI, protect your domain reputation, and save you a few bucks.

Email Verification for Spam Email Addresses

Unlike invalid email addresses, spam emails are more difficult to find.

Nothing can guarantee whether a specific email is a spam or a fake. However, several red flags might point you in the right direction.

The Spam Folder

If the emails from a particular sender continuously end up in your spam folder, chances are the account is probably spam.

The Email Address Format

If a company has incorporated many numbers before the ‘@’ symbol, the email address is probably spam or a fake one.

Another indication is if the company uses a free ISP, such as Hotmail or Gmail.

Grammar/Syntax Errors

Email addresses containing grammar, spelling, or syntax errors most often indicate spam or fake accounts.

More precisely, these accounts usually resemble a well-known brand, making it harder for the receivers to spot the misspelling.

Requesting Personal Info

One of the most famous spammer indicators is the request for personal information.

In other words, a real email address will rarely request such information via email. So, be careful where you submit your details.

General Greetings

In general, companies will set up a form to refer to you using your name, or not include a greeting.

So, if someone refers to you as a ‘Good Sir/Madam’ or ‘Valued Customer,’ it is probably a fake account.


All things considered, spotting and eliminating fake email accounts through email verification is an essential issue regarding your email marketing campaign’s success.

There are several methods for spotting fake email accounts, both invalid and spam addresses, all of which result in an increased delivery rate and enhanced sender reputation.