Top 3 VPN Scams And How To Spot Them

common vpn scams

VPN Scams That You Need To Avoid Today

A new set of VPN scams has emerged this year and there is no surprise. About 41% of Internet users in the United States and in the United Kingdom use a VPN (virtual private network) at least once a week. This percentage is likely to rise incrementally as concepts such as eCommerce and hybrid working become increasingly commonplace.

As the demand for VPNs rises, so too does the number of rogue operators that may leverage the technology to intercept your data and monetize this (while putting your individual privacy at risk).

vpn scam

This is understandable, as a VPN can create a secure and encrypted connection between your device and a remote server. This creates an added layer of network security and protects you against hackers and cyber thieves. Hence, it makes sense that the same nefarious individuals may use the same technology to capture your most sensitive data.

Fortunately, some telltale signs of VPN scams make them easier to spot and avoid altogether. These include:

1. Free VPN Offers – Or At Least Questionable Pricing

It’s easy to understand the allure of anything marketed as free, but the amount you spend on a product or service isn’t necessarily as substantial as the value you receive for your hard-earned cash.

This is especially true when securing your Internet connection, and it’s fair to say that free VPNs are either entirely unfit for purpose or potentially indicative of a rogue operator.

The critical question is how do free VPN clients monetize their services and generate a profit? It’s an important consideration, too, as downloading and installing a VPN for the UK will ensure that all your data and web traffic is subsequently funneled through a remote server owned by the client.

In many cases, a free VPN service will look to monetize your data by selling it to interested third parties, putting your privacy (and even security) at risk in some instances.

What’s more, it affords you absolutely no control over how your data is used and where it’s shared. This is arguably counterintuitive to the core purpose of a VPN in the first place.

On a fundamental level, VPNs may also lack the requisite 128 or 256-bit encryption protocols, putting you permanently at risk and making it easier for hackers to intercept your data.

When you also consider that even reputable VPN clients offer flexible subscriptions for as little as £3 per month, it’s wise to avoid free VPNs entirely in favor of paid alternatives that provide a broad range of features.

2. Lifetime VPN Subscription Scams

This is probably one of the most prevalent VPN scams. The promise of a lifetime subscription may also be eye-catching, with several VPN vendors offering this to clients.

The caveat here is that such offers tend to come with an inflated price, which is made to look far less intimidating through the suggestion that it has been heavily discounted to offer incredible and limited-time value.

The main issue here is that there’s no guarantee that the lifetime subscription can be upheld. Users often find that while their VPN service works well for a couple of months or so, the speed and performance gradually downgrade while the bandwidth is incrementally reduced.

This isn’t to say that all lifetime VPN subscriptions are fraudulent. Still, similar offers that are reputable should be formally backed up by a workable business model or some money-back guarantee that’s inscribed in writing.

So, if you come across this type of promotion, be sure to conduct thorough and detailed research into the vendor and seek a tangible guarantee in the associated terms and conditions.

3. A Vague Or Absent Zero-Log Policy

You may have heard some VPN clients discuss their so-called “zero-log” policy, which ensures that the service provider won’t be logging any information about their sensitive data and web activity.

The issue here is clear; however, a small number of VPNs (including some reputable clients) may long users’ data and store connection timestamps, creating a variable degree of risk and lack of transparency that may be entirely at odds with their stated policy.

This may occasionally be the result of an accident rather than a design. Still, in the latter instances, a complete log of your data and web activity will exist that could subsequently be monetized or accessed by both nefarious groups and credible authorities.

Ultimately, the fundamental practice of logging users’ data completely defeats the purpose of using a VPN in the first place, so look for clients that commit to upholding a zero-log policy and have enshrined this fully in their T&Cs.

Otherwise, you’ll risk falling victim to a scam and potentially putting your most sensitive data at risk.

How To Report a Scam

Warn your friends and family about these three VPM scams by sharing this article on social media. Also, you can officially report a scam and any other suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission using this link below:

Report To The FTC Here

How To Protect Yourself More

If you want to be the first to find out the most prevalent scams every week, subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodic emails from us and we promise not to spam.

At the same time, educate yourself with some other fraud-related articles right under this paragraph, so that you know how to stay safe online. Last but not least, use the comments section below to expose other online scammers.

How To Protect Yourself From Remote Deposits Scams

Dubious VPN Subscription Offers

Money Transfer Scams

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