Tracking your location only with the phone number can be nerve-wracking for the police department. Hence, they try to access your IP address to seize valuable information and monitor your online activities.
Now, the question is – When will police track an IP address?
Police and law enforcement agencies track an IP address when they think someone has committed a crime. For instance, if a hacker has accessed your device fraudulently and sold your business data to another company, police will consider this a serious crime.
These types of cyber crimes are punishable and can lead to imprisonment. The police department can apply the Investigatory Powers Act to collect information using your IP address. They mostly try to find your address, subscriber information, and browsing history by tracking the IP address.
Let’s find out how police track a criminal’s IP address:
How a Police Track a Cybercriminal’s IP Address?
Tracking cyber criminals’ IP addresses is a challenging task for the police and law enforcement bodies. Why is it a difficult job? Every mobile device has a unique IP address, and they change frequently. Hence, tracking someone’s location can be tough if they constantly change their IP address.
The Police first try to detect the criminals’ location with their phone numbers. However, if they fail to do so, they opt for IP tracking. They use high-end tools to track the criminals’ location with their IP addresses.
There are several IP trackers available online that track the IP address without the user’s acknowledgment. Additionally, the police contact the suspected criminal’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) to know someone’s IP address.
Moreover, tracing a criminal’s IP address becomes easier if the crime occurs on a social media platform. For instance, if someone has committed an offensive crime on Facebook, contact the Police. They will find the criminals’ IP addresses from their social networking sites.
How Does an IP Tracker Help the Police to Track Someone’s IP Address?
You might have acknowledged when will police track an IP address. Now, it’s time to check how an IP tracker helps the Police to find a criminal’s IP address. These tools only work when the criminal’s device is connected to a web server,
IP address tracking apps don’t reveal an individual’s private details like location or address. A police warrant and crime evidence are required when using these tools.
ISP providers protect your IP addresses from hackers or data exposure. However, they will tell you your IP address if you’re engaged in a serious crime. These IP trackers contain a code with a link to a tracker file. If the criminal loads the web page containing the tracker code, the police can trace their IP address.
An IP tracker can record other details of cybercriminals. They can record which pages the potential hacker has visited and browser details. It helps the police to identify the criminal’s current location.
Is It Possible to Track Someone’s IP Address with the Command Prompt Tool?
The police can also trace a cyber criminal’s IP address using the Command Prompt tool using the “tracert” command. How do they track the IP address using this built-in Windows tool? They take technical assistance from experts to find someone’s IP address in this method.
The Tracert command shows what locations the criminals’ data is going through. Copying and pasting these data into any IP tracker website will show you their approximate location.
How Can a Police Find Your IP Address?
The Police can’t track your IP address if your mobile device isn’t connected to the internet. However, if they are connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data, the police can track your IP address easily. Here are the different ways the police use to get hold of your IP address:
1. Tapping on a Website Link
Any website or email attachment link you click will provide your IP address to the police or third parties. Whoever owns the web page or server will see your IP address. They can share your IP address with the police if you’re involved in a crime.
2. Opening an Advertisement
You might not know that clicking on an ad reveals your IP address. Your internet service provider gets your IP address when you open an online ad from your internet-driven devices.
3. From Website Servers
The online sites you access from your PC or phone collect and store your IP address on a web server. These server owners can check your IP address and tell the police if they ask.
4. Filling Out Online Applications
Do you know that the applications or forms you fill out online can collect your IP address? Yes! The websites that contain the online forms store your IP address for security purposes. This is another way the police can track your IP through the website owner.
Can a Police Track Your IP Address from Website Logs?
Most online sites you visit keep detailed logs for several reasons. It helps them to know whether any third parties are accessing their site fraudulently. They restrict those visitors from accessing the websites.
So, when will police track an IP address from the website logs? We will answer this question by giving you a clear example. Suppose someone has created a fake account on a website to post a law-breaking video; the police will track their IP address from the website logs to get hold of the criminal.
However, tracking the IP address doesn’t always help to discover an individual’s identity. Internet Protocol Addresses only detect the devices the criminal uses. Investigators must find which ISP owns the IP to identify who committed the crime.
Is Tracking Someone’s IP Address Considered to be Legal?
Tracing someone’s IP address is not considered a crime. It is legal, and this is why many websites, apps, and ISPs collect it. Large-scale organizations also track their employees’ IP addresses to monitor their online activities.
There is no law made that can prevent someone from tracking your IP address. However, tracking a person’s IP address who is involved in criminal activities is illegal. You should leave the matter to the police or law enforcement agencies.
How to Hide Your IP Address from the Police?
Hiding your IP address will prevent ISPs, website or app owners from monitoring your online activities or tracing your address. Don’t hide your device IP if you have committed a cybercrime. Consider hiding it from the police if someone falsely accuses you of a crime you didn’t commit.
Besides, the police and law enforcement agencies are not the only ones that track your IP address. Hackers can also access sensitive data if they have your device’s IP address.
Here is the other reason why you should hide your IP address:
- To avoid geographic restrictions
- To stop your company from checking your browsing history
- Keep your online searches private
- Prevent your ISP from tracking your online activities
Let’s learn the easy ways to hide your IP address on your computer or phone:
1. Using a Proxy Server
The best part about using a proxy server is it uses a dynamic IP address to hide the user’s identity. Hence, using a proxy server will enhance your anonymity level. Additionally, proxy servers let you unlock geo-blocked content easily.
For instance, consider switching to a France proxy if you want to access any content in France. However, you must set up the proxy in your web browser to avail these benefits. Increase your online security and privacy using proxies.
2. Switch to the Tor Browser
Web browsers like Chrome or Safari reveal your IP address when you open any site. However, Tor hides your IP address and lets you surf the web without security concerns. You can go online anonymously and download any content using this browser.
Tor encrypts your data and provides extra protection for your online activities. This free web browser is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. However, Tor is slower than Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and other browsers.
3. Using Cellular Data
Most people don’t know that switching cellular data to Wi-Fi can hide their IP address. Your device changes the IP address every time you connect it to cellular data, making the internet traffic less prone to tracking.
Unfortunately, this IP address hiding method can also slow the internet connection. Accessing websites or watching videos might be difficult with a slow mobile network. So, it’s better to use an alternative IP hiding method to avoid this problem.
Should You Use a VPN Service to Hide Your IP Address?
The best way to mask your IP address from the police is through a VPN service. Most VPN services are compatible with all mobile devices, including smartphones. However, you must check the monthly subscription fee before using a VPN.
The VPN app must have security features like Threat Protection and IP Shuffle. Besides, you must ensure sufficient space in the device before installing a VPN. Clear up the device space by uninstalling unwanted programs and files. So, install the best VPN service that suits your online security needs.