If you want to be able to browse the Internet safely and securely, you are not alone. Every day, hundreds of people decide to start using a VPN to improve their online privacy. However, this surge in interest is also seeing many people fall victim to VPN scams.
Some VPN scams see rouge VPN services steal consumer payment information. Others see VPN services collaborate with cybercriminals to steal user identities. Here, we’ll, therefore, expose a few top VPN scam signs to look out for.
VPN Scams and Free VPNs
For VPN scams to work, it is necessary for victims to first start using a VPN service. Because of this, most scams start with scam perpetrators encouraging people to use free VPN services.
Are you considering using a free VPN? If so, it is important to remember that nothing in life is really free.
Simply operating a VPN service can cost thousands of dollars each month. This being the case, if something sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
Watch out for VPN Scams in the App Store
As of 2020, almost 60% of global web searches start on mobile devices. Because of this, many VPN scam perpetrators encourage mobile device users to download VPN apps.
In some cases, VPN apps available from Apple and Google App Store will promise to create VPN protected wifi hotspots. In others, apps will promise people free VPN trials. In most cases, though, apps will not be what they appear.
- Most apps do little more than allow users to go online using a proxy server.
- Apps often ask users to accept terms and conditions that allow apps to harvest data from mobile devices.
- Some apps contain spyware and malware that starts to cause problems the minute apps finish downloading.
To stay safe from App Store VPN scams, always be cautious about downloading any app, even if it seems to have hundreds of positive reviews.
Don’t Fall for the Lifetime Subscription VPN Fraud
At Shielded VPN , we offer several subscription levels that we try to match with different types of VPN consumers. If you plan to use a VPN long-term, costs can be as low as $3.08 per month. Alternatively, if you only need to use a VPN when traveling, we can charge a fixed one-off fee of $8.99 for access lasting up to 30-days.
Sadly, some VPN scams attempt to take advantage of users by offering lifetime subscriptions. Many say that just one charge of anything from $50 to $500, will get lifetime VPN access. In every case, though, any incentive like this is almost always signs of a scam.
Avoid VPN Scams by Reading all the Small Print
As a rule, all VPNs offer users some kind of incentive to use their service. Some VPNs promise lightning fast download speeds. Others promise never to log your online behavior.
Sadly, some VPNs hide the terms and conditions applicable to such incentives in pages of small print that few people ever read. TunnelBear, for example, is just one VPN that promises not to log user behavior, but at the same time blocks users from torrenting and streaming content.
To make sure you know exactly what you are buying, always read any fine print in detail.
Never Trust VPNs That Say They Use Tor
Last but not least, it is always a good idea to avoid using a VPN that says it uses Tor to improve user privacy.
Tor is a fantastic tool to use if you want total anonymity online. However, Tor is slow, does not encrypt user traffic, and is monitored by law enforcement. All this being the case, it isn’t practical for anyone to attempt to operate a free or paid VPN service on top of the Tor network. Instead, scam perpetrators mention Tor to instill trust in potential victims.
Online freelancer, owner of Shielded VPN and long time website creator and designer. Happily married man and father of two amazing boys.