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What can people do with your IP address?

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Last updated: 11 March 2022

An IP address is a string of numbers which identifies any device connecting to a wider network. But why should you keep it secure? What can someone do with your IP address if they get hold of it?

If someone gets your IP address, there are a number of things they could do. These range from the irritating to the potentially catastrophic:

1. See where you are

While IP addresses only provide details of the general area you live in, this can be used by a third party to learn more about you. Once they know this, a bit of digging can reveal further details about your location.

2. Tailored marketing

It’s not uncommon for websites to scan your IP address when you're browsing in order to try and sell stuff to you. This often comes in the form of marketing emails, as well as advertisements, tailored to the content you have been consuming.

3. Uncover personal details

It’s important to note that an IP address on it’s own isn't personally identifiable information. However, once someone has access to it, they can use it to learn more about you. For example they could work out who your broadband provider is, and use this information to trick you into handing over personal details.

4. Stop you doing things

Not everyone who tracks your IP address does so illegally. Your IP address can be used to prevent you accessing certain websites. For example, Netflix will examine the IP address of a user and only allow them to watch shows and movies that are available in your area.

5. Pretend to be you

Some sophisticated criminals are able to mimic your IP address when engaging in illegal, online activities. This could result in you facing criminal charges for something you weren’t even aware of.

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Michael Quinn

Author: Michael Quinn

Michael is a dedicated author helping usave to write guides, blogs and news for the last four years. When not writing articles, you can usually find him at wine tasting events or having a political debate on the night tube.

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