Just by accessing the internet, you may be giving away pieces of yourself and it all starts with your IP address.

The IP address, also known as IPv4 and IPv6,  is more than just a number that identifies your device, it can hold valuable information regarding your physical location as well. Tracing the geolocation of an IP address is a common method used by private investigators to determine the approximate location of a subject. Similarly, hackers and those wishing to cause harm can also use this method to obtain location information about their victims. But why would online hackers want to know your physical location?

While many scams are done solely online, it’s not uncommon for scammers to attempt to collect location information on their victims to commit identity theft. Scammers can trace their victim’s BSSID (basic service set identifiers) to an approximate physical address in order to obtain asset information, mail, and other personal information. So what can you do to keep your IP address safe online?

A VPN (virtual private network) is a tool you can use to hide your device’s IP address when accessing the internet. The VPN hides your personally identifying information such as your IP address and personal data, providing you with an extra layer of online privacy. VPNs are widely used from big corporations to individual homes and can be obtained relatively easily. Many digital security companies offer not only device security and monitoring, but the ability to access a secure VPN with purchase.

Keep yourself and your personal information safe when browsing online. If possible, use a VPN to keep your information private. Be cautious when clicking on any unknown or shady links and always have a privacy-first mindset when surfing the internet.