How Do You Detect & Stop Email Tracking

Many email service providers have email tracking options. They allow the sender to know the location of the recipient, the gadget they’re using, and when the reader opens a message or clicks a link.
While most of this is done by individuals who mean no harm and are looking to extend their customer base, it’s done without the consent of the receiver.
Therefore, if you feel like your space is being invaded, there are a few things you can do to detect email tracking and stop it.
Below are signs that your emails are being tracked and how to disable the features for your emails.

How email tracking works

Normally, there are two ways of email tracking. One is sending a link that you need to click to see the email, or a pixel beacon, which is an invisible trackable image.
In the case of a traceable link, the interface where you read the email is a tracker. And for the pixel beacon, the image is connected with a tracking software server that the sender uses to know when you interact with the email.

How to check email tracking manually

There are many ways you can track emails. The following are the most common methods.                                                                         

1. Look for external images

Email providers like Yahoo, Gmail, and Outlook don’t show external images on default. Your email provider lets you decide whether or not to open an image, just in case it contains a traceable image. By declining that request, you can disable tracking for that email.
There is a probability that the image might have been essential, but you’ll have to decide for yourself.

2. Don’t click the link

It’s not advisable to open links in emails, and that’s true even for links you need to click to read an email.
If you get an email demanding you to click a link to see content, only click the link if you want to let the sender know you read the email.

3. Check out for third-party email addresses

Other server-side trackers send their email or website URL together with the email. You can look out for them.
To know if this is the method the sender is using, go to your email service and find the Show Original Message icon, which shows server-side data.
For instance, for Gmail, you can click on more >show original message.

show original message

To view all the addresses in the original message, press CTRL+ F and type .com. This will give you access to all the emails mentioned in the email. If you see any other email that doesn’t belong to your email service provider, links in the text or your email address, search it online to see if it belongs to a tracking service. You can try using a service like Yesware.

How to detect email tracking automatically

While all the above tracking methods are great, they might not be reliable in some incidences. Therefore, to be more effective, consider using a third-party app.
One of the apps you can use is Ugly Email. The latter is a chrome extension that lets you can use to see tracked emails in Gmail.
Sadly, this service is only limited to chrome and Gmail users.
The service has significantly improved over the past years. It can detect and stop email tracking and even tell the service used to track the email.
Once installed, it will automatically show an “eye” for all tracked emails.

check email address

You can open the email, as the app will automatically disable the tracking. Thankfully, it has the ability to block many tracking methods, even the ones that are difficult to deal with manually.

Egly Email eye icon

Take Away
While most people tracking emails are marketing individuals who only want to know data for their business, some scammers use the service to identify the weak spots of receivers.
Sometimes, not all emails you realize are being tracked you’ll want to disable, as you might have voluntarily signed up to an email list to gain insights. You’ll only need this to deal with emails you find fishy.