Article 3 min

Keeping up with Technology: Geolocation and Identity Verification

What is geolocation?

Geolocation is the practice of finding the geographic location of an object, usually an electronic device such as a phone or computer. Closely related to what a positioning system does, geolocation services focus on collecting data beyond the geographic coordinate.

Geolocation services can offer a variety of geographic and technical information including country, time zone, zip code, area code, address, proxy information, and network information. Geolocation collects a variety of data to determine this information. Datasources includes IP address, Wi-FI address, radio-frequency identification (RFID), Global Positioning System (GPS) and GSM/CDMA cell IDs.

The accuracy of the location depends on the amount and variety of location sources available for the electronic device. Most advanced cell phones include a GPS device, which is why mapping and direction applications, such as Google Maps, work so well on mobile phones. Geolocation for these devices is straightforward and generally accurate.

Geolocation for computers tends to be more complicated since they don’t typically have GPS receivers or associated location tracking software. Geolocation for computers relies more heavily on IP addresses. The problem with this is that people can use proxies that mask their location. These proxies are easy to use and inexpensive. Geolocation services have to be far more advanced to handle proxy complications.

What is geolocation commonly used for?

You’ve most likely heard of popular applications that rely on geolocation technology. Aside from mapping software like Google Maps (another popular one is Waze), social media applications frequently use geolocation for a variety of features. Foursquare is a popular phone app that customers use to discover new places to visit, let friends know where they are at, and find nearby location for needed services. Facebook, Yelp, and Tinder are other popular social media sites and applications that rely on geolocation.

What does geolocation have to do with identity verification?

Knowing where a customer is at the time of purchase is helpful to businesses, and geolocation services can be used for fraud prevention and regulatory compliance.


Geolocation services can show a merchant if the consumer is trying to hide or obfuscate their location. If the billing address and shipping information is vastly different from the purchase location then merchants can look into the situation. The consumer might be on vacation or they might be trying to make fraudulent purchases.


There are many industries, such as gaming or gambling industries, which need to validate that the consumer or client is in a specific location. Certain countries have strict cross-border gambling regulations, which require companies to only serve customers in a specific geographic location. Geolocation can monitor and validate that clients are in the correct region and flag consumers who are trying to access services from a prohibited location.

Trulioo is invested in keeping up with important technologies, and we want to make sure that we’re offering services and information you need. If you are interested in geolocation from Trulioo, please contact us. We want our products and services to match our customers’ needs.