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Students Wonder: How Can Police Track Your Phone and IP Address?

Modern mobile phones and gadgets have GPS systems that constantly track and save our location data. This function comes in handy if you need to find a missing phone or a faster route when going on a road trip. Still, it also gives third parties - including apps, ad networks, hackers, and even the police - access to your location, mostly without your knowledge.

Police, in particular, often use this feature for tracking criminals and gathering evidence for ongoing or future investigations. So, If you're wondering if the police can track your phone numbers and IP addresses, the answer is - yes, they can.

While the police cannot search your phone without a warrant, they have a legal right to watch what you do in public, on social media, and in your home and business.

Read on to learn more about how the police can track your address.

Phone Number

Now more than ever, it is possible for the police or anyone interested in your location to find you. While it is not outrightly possible to determine your location with only your phone number, there are several tricks that anyone with your mobile number can use to track your address or location in real-time.

Many times, you unintentionally grant permission to access or share your location. Through information obtained from various social media platforms and mobile phone carriers, police brutality protesters and many of the January 6th, 2021 Capitol Insurrectionists have had cases built against them. If you use a smartphone, tracking you without your knowledge may only require you to download an app, click a link, or acknowledge a text message or email.

Most internet service providers and spy apps also allow you to share your location with friends and family.

Phone Tracking Apps

Phone Tracker apps are robust and accurate GPS trackers that let you monitor the location of a mobile device. You can use this app to keep tabs on your friends and family with their permission. When you monitor the movement or location of your loved ones with these tracking apps, you'll get a notification when one of your friends or family members is nearby. You can also use these apps to recover your lost or stolen phone or tablet.

With these apps, the police can track the location and get other information on your mobile device, including call history, SMS, emails, Internet searches, social media messages, and lots more. Can someone track your phone number without your knowledge? Absolutely.

The website texts the target device a link and customizable text to Android and IOS phones. Here's how it works:

  1. The user enters a cell phone number to track on the website.
  2. The website sends a link and customizable text to the target device.
  3. If the target device's owner hits the link, a map with their phone's location under "located numbers" will show.

Your location and privacy become compromised when you click on those links.

IP Tracker

There are websites like IP Tracker that allow users to track the IP location of a user by creating a shortened URL. The site allows friends and family to share locations, but it can be abused if used illegally to invade someone's privacy.

Social Media Profiles

Social media profiles are another way through which police track the location and spy on the activities of their suspects. Police regularly search social media for crime evidence to see who their suspects are associated with and if they can get them to admit to crimes. If you are a crime suspect, the police want to know your friends, where you've been, or worse still, evidence of a crime.

The police can get data from social media in other ways, such as by asking directly from social media companies. If you've ever read the privacy policies of social media companies like Facebook, you may have spotted a section that says how your information will be shared with the police. If the police request it and have the required documentation, they will likely obtain it.

The Concept Of Triangulation

Sometimes, your phone number may not provide your exact location, so the police employ the concept of triangulation to track your address. Triangulation is a survey method that begins with a baseline connecting two sites separated by a given distance and expands by adding sides to form a triangle.

The police, alongside networks or internet service providers, use this concept to determine the area of that device. This method can only provide a specific range of locations, after which manual searching is done in that particular zone of range to determine the exact location.

So, what if a massive population has dozens of blocks and apartments? Then it becomes virtually impossible. If the phone gets turned off, then nobody can trace it, but the police can still find the last place where it was active.

Is It Possible To Do It Through A VPN?

Yes, VPNs are supposed to protect your privacy, but how far does the protection go? Does it apply in all cases, even if crimes are committed? Can the police track your activities when you surf the internet with a VPN?

It is generally considered that the government won't be able to track one's live encrypted activity through a VPN. However, it can be done in other ways, mainly through one's ISP (Internet Service Provider). After obtaining a court order, they may request connection or usage logs. Because your internet service provider knows you are using a VPN, they can refer the authorities to you. Whether or not your VPN service discloses that information is determined by factors such as the jurisdiction and the VPN's privacy policy.

Finale

In the past, tracking someone's location meant having to install a GPS tracker on their vehicle. It is now possible to track a person's location in real-time using only the mobile number of their cell phone.

Authorities use these mobile numbers, tracking apps, IP addresses, social media profiles, the concept of triangulation, and VPN locations to gather evidence against crime suspects. And yes, the police can track your address and monitor your location even if you're not under investigation.

Disable location services, scan for and remove spyware, use a private browser, turn on airplane mode, remove unfamiliar apps, protect your google account, use a VPN, turn off your phone, avoid public wi-fi that isn't password protected, disable location tracking on social media apps, lock your sim card to prevent others from tracking your location.

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