Nowadays, we are getting increasingly concerned about Internet security and privacy. So, virtual private networks are becoming more and more popular among Internet users who care for their security and privacy online. However, the VPN market is full of scams. Today, we are going to familiarize you with some of the commonly seen scams on the market.
If you are thinking about using a free VPN to secure your data while surfing the Internet, chances are good that you will pay it in other ways. Because developing and maintaining a VPN service costs a lot. Free VPNs must find other ways to make money.
Most free VPNs are actually selling your private data to make a profit. You should move your trust from free VPNs to avoid potential data leakage.
Security risks of a fake VPN:
1. Malware infection
It is true that some VPNs are designed to spread malware across the Internet. If you happen to download such a VPN on your computer, your browsing history, cookies, caches and other sensitive information will be disclosed by the VPN.
In some cases, your computer will even become part of a botnet, performing DDoS attacks to others.
2. No encryption
A VPN is supposed to provide you with security and privacy protection. It shields your online activity from malware and hacker by encrypting your traffic. However, many VPNs actually have poor performance in privacy protection. Because the tunnel they build between the user and the Internet is not encrypted. Others, especially hackers can monitor and attack the user.
3. Sell user data
If you think your online activities are invisible to others with a VPN, you are wrong because your VPN provider knows what you do online. This is exploited by some VPNs to make money from selling user data to online marketers and advertisers.
How to spot a fake VPN?
1. Check whether its official website is safe or not
It is one of the basic factors that you can take into consideration when judging the quality of a VPN. A reliable VPN ought to ensure that its official website is secure. You can refer to our post to learn how to check if a website is safe, scam or malicious.
2. Check if it keeps its social media accounts and blog well updated
Apart from a secured official website, reliable VPNs should also keep their social media accounts and blog well updated. Building a website is not as difficult as you thought. You can check for its official blog and social media accounts such as Facebook page, Twitter account and so on. If a VPN is not active on social media and seldom post on its blog or even doesn’t have a blog and social media account, it can be a fake VPN.
3. Does it often release app updates to maintain and improve its service
A VPN that aims to provide high-quality service must keep on making improvements. So, it should often release app updates to offer new features, fix problems and so on. You can check for its app release history to see if it has done a lot of work to provide better VPN services.
4. Does it provides good and 24/7 reachable customer support
Customer support is another important factor for a good VPN. Whenever you have trouble using the VPN, you are sure to receive timely responses from the VPN service provider. And your problem will be solved very soon.
Besides, there should be many ways for you to contact it, such as live chat, email, social media, phone call and so on.
1. Never record user activity
It is commonly claimed by most VPNs that they don’t record user activity. But there is no way for a user to verify it.
In some cases, VPN service providers may even be required to provide user data to the government. If a VPN does log user data, there is a chance that your privacy will be compromised when the need arises.
Thus, you should perform a background search before subscribing to a VPN. Usually, it is strongly recommended to avoid using VPNs from the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and Fourteen Eyes countries.
2. Fast speed
Another commonly seen claim is “fast speed”. Many of them are not as fast as they claim. The best way to know if a VPN ensures a fast Internet speed is to test it with a speed test. Try the highly-recommended speed test to check if it is a false claim.
3. Unblock popular websites
Do you know that not all VPN work with Netflix? Netflix offers different content on the basis of region and blocks VPN services. Although a VPN claims to work with Netflix, your access to Netflix may still be denied with it.
4. DNS / IP / webRTC leak protection
Many VPNs also claim to offer premium features like IP leak protection. To make sure you are secured by these premium protections, you should test the VPN by yourself. Read our previous articles to get the best VPN test sites.
A lifetime VPN subscription sounds attractive. But it is too good to be true. It costs a lot to develop and run a VPN service. Then, why would they offer a lifetime subscription plan at an unreasonable price?
You should be really careful about such tricks.
Although a VPN with a large number of servers offer you more choices, it doesn’t mean that you should prefer quantity over quality. Read our post to find out why you can’t judge a VPN by its server count.
In order to get more users, some VPN even open fake servers. You should stay away from such VPN services.
You may also like:
Misleading VPN reviews
It is difficult to judge the quality of a VPN because even reviews can be misleading. The VPN reviews and comments you see online might be paid by a VPN for promotion. Some VPN reviews even mislead users. So, when you try to judge the quality of a VPN by referring to its reviews and comments online, you need to make sure they are from ordinary users.