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). In this article, we’ll expose the most common VPN scams and publish the results of our testing for the most trustworthy VPN services out there. Let’s begin.
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 internet 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.
Trustworthy VPN Providers: The Winner
After the increased amount of hacking online over the last year, we’ve been asked several times what the most effective VPN providers on the market are. After trying many platforms ourselves, we would say the winner is Surfshark. There are many reasons for this choice, but the Top 3 are:
- Not only do they have an awarded VPN service, protecting your privacy, securing your identity, and preventing third parties from tracking your device, but they have a super efficient antivirus program. It offers protection from viruses and zero-day threats, a lightweight, clean, and easy-to-use app, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- They help you hide your online searches, which will get you purely organic search results, free from ads and tracking.
- They will notify you when your personal info is leaked online.
Awesome, right? The best thing about it is that Surfshark offers 76% off + two months free for the Scam Detector readers. You can get the deal HERE.
How To Remove Your Personal Information From The Internet
However, if it’s a bit too late and your personal information is leaked online, we have good news. If you wonder how to remove your private data from the Internet, you should get a service like Incogni, see below. It is a trustworthy powerful privacy tool that requests your data removal from almost a hundred brokers on your behalf. The service is verified by our staff and is legitimate. For only $5.79US/month, it’s totally worth it. Click below to remove your personal data from the Internet:
How To Report a VPN 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:
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.
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