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Is there any way I can find out who is sending emails to my fiance and my employer spreading lies about me to hurt my reputation? The police say they can't help because I don't know the identity of the person. Please help.

asked by Amy J. on 4/16/17

1 Answer

Hi Amy,

There are a number of ways to trace emails back to the original sender. Not enough is known about your specific situation to offer any concrete advice, but here's a general guide (assuming that you are based in South Africa):

1. If the emails are being sent from a local email address (. co.za,. org.za,. ac.za,. za.net,. gov.za, etc), and

(i) if the nature of the communication or content of the messages constitutes harassment, stalking or bullying then
(a) exercise your rights in terms of the Protection from Harassment Act and apply for an interim protection order
(b) the Court can direct the email service provider to furnish the senders particulars in terms of Regulation 7

(ii) if the emails are of such as nature that they're likely to impair your dignity or cause serious damage to your reputation then
(a) you may be able to open a case of crimen injuria or criminal defamation against the sender
(b) you could then have the email service provider subpoena'd in terms of Section 205 of the Criminal Procedure Act

(iii) Similarly, if the emails are designed to intimidate you or are part of an effort to extort or blackmail you then
(a) opening a police case would be the best option. The police will be able to advise which charges are most appropriate.
(b) as above the senders details could be obtained by means of a Section 205 subpoena

2. If the emails are being sent from a foreign email address, including gmail.com, yahoo.com, hotmail.com, etc, and

(i) if the content or the sending of the emails would constitute a criminal offense in the email service provider's jurisdiction then
(a) open a police case locally and request assistance through a Mutual Legal Assistance or other Treaty with that country (if applicable) or
(b) open a police case locally and request assistance through Interpol (via the Interpol Liaison office in South Africa)

(ii) if the emails are a violation of the email services providers T&C's, the country's common or other law then
(a) try a Freedom of Information Act (or similar) application for as much information as the email service provider is willing to provide and
(b) contact a lawyer in that jurisdiction to petition the Court for a subpoena, court order or search warrant as appropriate to get the rest

3. If you'd prefer to have professionals handle it for you then get in touch with us and we'll assess your situation and circumstances to find the best solution for you.

Angela (angela@intertel.co.za)

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