Tech Talk Discuss PC Hardware, Software, Internet and Other Technology

Weird IP Address Issue

Old 09-01-13, 06:36 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
joe_b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,105
Weird IP Address Issue

Ever since I switched my ISP to Windstream, I've noticed several websites auto-detect my location as being in an entirely different city/state than where I am located. But it doesn't stay consistent. On any given day, my location might be recognized as local or halfway across the country. It's not a virus issue, as the same thing is occurring on three different computers in my home.

As expected, this is playing havoc when signing in to do any online business. I've already been shut out of a couple accounts because their system detected I was logging in from two different states in the span of a day. Could anyone with experience concerning IP addresses shed some light on what might be causing this? It's pretty frustrating.

UPDATE: Okay, I did a chat with my ISP and the rep explained I was on a "dynamic connection". Essentially, they have a pool of IP addresses they use to connect customers (some tied to different states, it seems) and these are randomly assigned to users each time they go online. One day, the IP might say I'm in Arkansas -- the next in Illinois.

I told her a few of my online accounts keep getting flagged for unauthorized use due to this and it's been a major headache to get sorted out. She basically told me there was nothing she could do and I would need to sign up for a static IP address -- which apparently costs extra. What a crock...

Last edited by joe_b; 09-02-13 at 04:20 AM.
joe_b is offline  
Old 09-01-13, 07:05 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
danwiz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Posts: 1,849
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Sounds like you've basically got two options:
1. Pay the extra money for the static IP address
2. Switch ISP's (again) and check to be sure that the new one doesn't also do this same thing.
danwiz is offline  
Old 09-01-13, 08:02 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
joe_b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,105
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Ugh.
joe_b is offline  
Old 09-01-13, 08:22 PM
  #4  
Moderator
 
Groucho's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Posts: 70,684
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Weird. I have a dynamic IP address, but it only changes when I reboot the modem.
Groucho is offline  
Old 09-01-13, 08:34 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
joe_b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,105
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Weird. I have a dynamic IP address, but it only changes when I reboot the modem.
I know, it's so strange. I was being identified as local last night, but now it's showing that I'm in Illinois when I look up movie listings. I've rebooted nothing.
joe_b is offline  
Old 09-01-13, 08:34 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,285
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Dynamic IP addresses do have their advantages. Three words: Private torrent sites.
zyzzle is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 05:01 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Posts: 1,642
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Is this DSL or cable? I'm guessing DSL because most cable modem keep the same IP even after a modem reset (on Time Warner any way). What router do you use? Some routers (and those that run dd wrt) have a "keep alive" option that prevents the IP lease from expiring.
Kdogg is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 06:24 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
joe_b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,105
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

I'm not the most technologically savvy about the connection, but I signed up for High-Speed Internet -- so I assume it's DSL. The router was supplied by Windstream and connects with an Ethernet cable. That's all I know. There is a reset button on the back, but I see no other settings and I wasn't given an instruction manual on it.

The security issues being raised with some websites only started a couple weeks ago. Let me tell you, getting my PayPal account unflagged has been a huge pain in the ass. They called about potentially fraudulent transactions. I confirmed that I authorized the payments in question and they told me that was all they needed. Yet my account was still being blocked from checking out with any merchant. The bozo on the phone wanted me to give up everything except my kidney to prove I was the account holder. After going back and forth with customer service for over a week and finally getting them to admit the flag was due to an IP address issue, I was once again allowed to checkout using PayPal. I sent them an e-mail explaining I was on one of these "dynamic connections" and my ISP had confirmed the IP address could change without notice. I asked them to please make a note on my account in case their security department decides to flag my transactions in the future. I got a brief reply this evening telling me everything was fine and advising me that "further information about your credit history would not lead to a different result". I'm guessing that having comprehension of the English language is not a top requirement to be a customer service rep for PayPal.
joe_b is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 08:22 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 17,503
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

All ISPs do this (dynamic IP addresses), but most of them seem to only assign from a range that's within the same geographic region.

Basically, using the IP Address in order to determine location is a bit of a crock. It's only as good as the database that was built for it, and in your case, Windstream appears to assign IP addresses throughout its entire network, so it's not that good:
http://compnetworking.about.com/od/t...p_location.htm

The irony of getting a static IP address from Windstream is that the geolocation info for it might not be accurate at all, but at least it'd be consistent.

Another option would be to consistently use a proxy or VPN, at least for sites that are sensitive to geolocation. The bad news is that some sites may blacklist certain proxies or VPNs since they could be used by hackers trying to conceal their real IP address.
Jay G. is offline  
Old 09-11-13, 04:38 AM
  #10  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
joe_b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,105
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

My location was showing up correctly on most sites for a few days, but now Bing is once again detecting I'm in Illinois and IMDb is back to listing movie showtimes for Arkansas. For some reason, Google Maps still identifies my general area correctly. Other than Windows installing some automatic updates last night, no changes were made to the computer or router.

I understand that with a dynamic connection my IP address changes without notice, but why am I identified as being in different states (depending on the site) during the same browsing session? Windstream are pretty useless with support in this area.
joe_b is offline  
Old 09-11-13, 05:53 AM
  #11  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 17,503
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Originally Posted by joe_b View Post
I understand that with a dynamic connection my IP address changes without notice, but why am I identified as being in different states (depending on the site) during the same browsing session?
It's because each of those sites are using different geolocation services, and those services have identified different locations for your current IP address (because Windstream has assigned that IP address to all those locations in the past).

You could try "faking" your location via an add-on for Firefox or Chrome. This will have the browser submit a location as if it's getting it from a GPS (something mobile phones can often do).

Firefox:
http://www.instantfundas.com/2011/03...efox-with.html

Chrome:
http://www.labnol.org/internet/geo-location/27878/


You can also turn off browser geolocation, although that may not work in your case if most sites are using your IP address for geolocation:
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/disable...plorer-chrome/
Jay G. is offline  
Old 09-11-13, 07:08 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
joe_b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,105
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Originally Posted by Jay G
It's because each of those sites are using different geolocation services, and those services have identified different locations for your current IP address (because Windstream has assigned that IP address to all those locations in the past).
In the case of PayPal, their reps confirmed the system had detected I'd been logging in from three different states, even though I told them I had used my home computer every single time. It would be nice if their particular "geolocation service" could keep things straight.

Originally Posted by Jay G
You can also turn off browser geolocation, although that may not work in your case if most sites are using your IP address for geolocation:
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/disable...plorer-chrome/
I'll look into this. Thanks for the reply.
joe_b is offline  
Old 09-11-13, 08:10 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 17,503
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Originally Posted by joe_b View Post
In the case of PayPal, their reps confirmed the system had detected I'd been logging in from three different states, even though I told them I had used my home computer every single time. It would be nice if their particular "geolocation service" could keep things straight.
It probably does. That may have had to do with the IP address changing.

So let's say you start one day and turn on your PC, and it grabs an IP address, let's call it IP1, from Windstream. Windstream has assigned IP1 to various points all across the country over time. Paypal has IP1 listed as from one location, Google has IP2 as being from another, IMDB from another, etc. However, every time you go to one of those sites using IP1, they each should think you're from the same location they previously identified.

Now, next time you boot up your PC, or something for whatever reason changes your IP address, to let's say IP2, that changes the location lookup for each site. Paypal now thinks you're from the location that IP2 is listed as being from. Now, it may be possible that some services may think IP1 and IP2 are from the same location, so the change in IP address may not affect your location at all for some sites, but it's obviously affecting it for others.

Try keeping track of your IP address and when it changes.

Also, I'd consider writing to the CEO of Windstream about your problems. Suggest that your problems are leading you to consider other ISPs. Even if the CEO doesn't read it personally, customer issues sent to the CEO typically get a higher priority. You can find a business snail mail address, as well as email address, for the CEO here:
http://www.icc.illinois.gov/utility/...e.aspx?id=2957
Jay G. is offline  
Old 09-11-13, 08:46 AM
  #14  
DRG
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: ND
Posts: 13,410
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

I have the exact same problem. No matter how many times I switch my 'local store' for ad listings and to check local availability of items, I get stores a state away.
DRG is offline  
Old 09-11-13, 08:58 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: MN
Posts: 23,936
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Are you with Midco? It seems like you'll always get stuck with Sioux Falls as a default with them.
starman9000 is offline  
Old 09-11-13, 11:27 AM
  #16  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
joe_b's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 3,105
Re: Weird IP Address Issue

Thanks again, Jay G. Your response is far more enlightening than what anyone at Windstream was telling me. I haven't been keeping a record of my IP address (In fact, I had to do a Google search to know how to even locate it.) but I'll start to log that info each time my location changes on the sites I frequent.

I'll definitely consider your advice about writing a letter to the CEO in the near future, or just find a new ISP if I keep getting shut out of any more accounts.
joe_b is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.