Can a VPN be traced?

I have a long time friend (27 years).
They have been getting offensive emails also the person involved has messaged one of their relatives and made a false report to the tax office also made reports to crimes Toppers and social services.
They have involved the police.
Apparently the emails can't be traced.
My friend has been told the person/s are probably using a proxy or a VPN or the dark web.
My friend thinks they are just being lazy and don't want to do a proper investigation.


  • edited 30 October 2020 at 1:09AM
    Yahoo_MailYahoo_Mail Forumite
    624 Posts
    500 Posts Name Dropper
    edited 30 October 2020 at 1:09AM
    Probably not, no.

    Most VPN services don't keep logs so even with a court order, there will be no useable information for law enforcement.  And for low-level harassment, it's not worth the effort to do much more than a basic investigation.  Most likely, in order to prosecute an offence where a VPN is used, they'd be getting the data they need for a prosecution from the person's device(s.)  Even if the person is known though, they'd need to get a court order which isn't going to be granted on a whim.

    Best that your friend says nothing and  gets on with their life.  If the person is known to them they'll probably lose interest if nothing is said about it. After all, they're probably doing this for a reaction.
  • JJ_EganJJ_Egan Forumite
    19.4K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Many VPns are based outside of the 5eyes region and do not record . Server that mail is sent from can be from any place on the planet .
  • tallmansixtallmansix Forumite
    846 Posts
    500 Posts Third Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic
    You could trying complaining to the email provider for the person sending the malicious emails. They won't necessarily be able to trace them but if they take your complaint seriously they may consider closing that email address. It won't prevent the perpetrator from setting up a new and different address though.

    Maybe your best bet is for your friend to change their email address and close the old account.
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  • AlexAlex77AlexAlex77 Forumite
    4 Posts
    First Post Photogenic
    MoneySaving Newbie
    If you use a VPN, your IP address is changed and your online activity is encrypted, so you cannot be tracked. Some internet
    service providers (ISPs) or websites may know that you're using a VPN, but they can't see your actual online activity. 
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