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I'm worried because Google tells me my smart phone was used to access my Google account from Brazil a couple of days ago. But I and my phone have been in the San Francisco Bay Area the whole time. (Note: Google find phone does not use a cell phone tower location, but judges by ip address location)

Two possibilities have occurred to me:

(1) Opera Max (a VPN which offers a free data compression service) has been running on my phone for a few weeks - at least I hope it is Opera Max. Could it be that Opera Max allocated a temporary IP Address located in Brazil as part of the VPN service? There are no other locations besides Brazil showing up, but then again Google only showed "recent" locations, without being specific about how long "recent" is.

(2) Somebody has created a doppleganger of my ATT sim card, and is using it from Brazil in an attempt to hack me and steal something. I'm planning to go down to ATT and change my Sim card.

If anyone has had similar experiences with their phone accessing IP addresses in unexpected distant locations, or knows anything about this subject, I would be grateful to hear about it.

  • 1
    Google isn't always great with VPNs. For a while, when I connected to a London server, google insisted on serving me 'local' pages from the Middle East. Meanwhile Start Page thought I was in Russia. – Laconic Droid Sep 26 '17 at 16:38
  • @LaconicDroid - Was your London VPN one you were personally familiar with, such as your company or school? How can we know a random VPN is not occasionally farming out our data to third party or even in-house "middlemen forwarders" who try to mine the data for personal information. In my case I was prompted on my cell phone to allow Opera Max to "Compress" my data for free. I usually turn down free offers but for some reason not this one. But it seems strange they provide this service for free. So I am uneasy about this Brazil notification. – Craig Hicks Sep 26 '17 at 18:07
  • @LaconicDroid - In your case it seems plausible that Google and StartPage predict that users coming through that VPN are likely to be in the ME or Russia, simply because so many are. Then they later refine their guesses based on what you actually browse. – Craig Hicks Sep 26 '17 at 18:10
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    It was a commericial VPN that I have used for a few years. Whatsmyip.org correctly located it in London, and sites like BBC iPlayer also recognized it as such. Google Maps was the worst offender at location. Google Search served the UK site maybe 60 or 70% of the time and UAE most of the others. – Laconic Droid Sep 26 '17 at 18:30

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