As you search for the best VPN, be careful to avoid VPN scams.
Let’s face it. You’re not the only person interested in online security and privacy. As a matter of fact, worldwide demand for VPN services is increasing sharply. That fact doesn’t go unnoticed by people who are ready to cash in.
New premium and free VPN services are turning up every day, with most making robust claims about security, privacy, and anonymity. Behind each sketchy VPN, you’ll find dozens, if not hundreds, of fake reviews. For sure, not every new VPN is a scam, but many of them are.
In my experience, while working with IwantMyVPN.com, I’ve come across myriad false claims made by VPN providers that were simply trying to seize a quick share of the market.
Regardless of whether you need Instagram unblocked at school or need to work securely from home, you can’t afford to take risks.
Bottom line: Before you fall for gimmicks and schemes, do your research. I don’t want you to fall for a VPN scam.
9 VPN scams you need to avoid
How do people get away with VPN scams? They often do it because they’re based in jurisdictions that don’t have strict consumer protection laws. Moreover, the nature of the VPN business requires even legitimate firms to operate with a high degree of confidentiality.
Fortunately, you’re smarter than that. Thousands of people depend on our VPN reviews to find the best VPN services to unblock Instagram at school or work. Our readers also use their VPNs to unblock Netflix and other geo-restricted sports and entertainment content.
Here, we give you the low down on the entire VPN industry. Our VPN reviews are just what you need to find the VPN that fit’s your lifestyle and business.
In other words, if you continue reading, you’ll protect yourself from the following common VPN scams.
1. Lifetime VPN deals
Believe me, operating the best VPN service requires a substantial investment. In addition to maintaining current operations, a VPN service must prepare for the future. This involves expensive hardware upgrades, new data contracts, facility upgrades, legal expenses, and human resources.
To put it differently, VPN services have many fixed and variable expenses that change over time. So, when a service offers lifetime VPN subscriptions, how do they continue covering their expenses? They do it using one or more shady tactics.
2. Reducing VPN service quality.
With a high percentage of users not paying for the service after paying for the “lifetime” subscription, these VPNs skimp on their services. The model is unsustainable because they must constantly sign up new subscribers to pay for their operational costs.
In the end, VPNs that sell lifetime subscriptions will naturally reduce the quality of their service to cut costs. This means that subscribers will experience a steady degradation of their service until they feel forced to buy a monthly or annual VPN package from a reputable provider.
3. Selling VPN user data
Your mobile phone network, ISP, cable company and other services already sell your data. Isn’t your VPN supposed to protect you from that abuse?
As already noted, VPN providers who offer lifetime subscriptions inevitably get strapped for cash. So, in addition to reducing quality, they often will sell user data.
So, after signing up, you can expect an inundation of advertisements, many of which come from advertisers who seem familiar with your browsing habits. In return, your VPN provider earns commissions that pay the bills.
4. A Ponzi scheme
Needless to say, “lifetime” VPN subscriptions operate like Ponzi schemes. An ever increasing number of new subscribers are required to sustain the operation. Eventually, they collapse.
Also, some unscrupulous operators deliberately shut their doors after receiving enough lifetime subscribers.
Meanwhile, some VPN services are cancelling their “lifetime” subscriptions and forcing users into traditional subscriptions.
Quick Tip: Avoid lifetime VPN subscriptions: They’re scams.
5. Free VPN providers
Everyone wants something for nothing. That, in a nutshell, explains why so many free VPNs are littering the marketplace.
Who wants to pay for something that they can get for free. Right?
Free VPNs are scams.
Think about it.
To operate, a VPN company needs to operate a network of physical and virtual servers. They also must pay for bandwidth and a staff. Add to that the cost of facilities, utilities, and other overhead.
Do you get the point? It’s impossible to operate a VPN service for free. So, how do you think a free VPN pays their bills?
With free VPNs, you are the product. They sell your identity and everything you do online. They sell your information to government entities, marketers, corporations, research firms, analytics companies.
To put it differently, a free VPN isn’t free.
Think about the “free” products that have been exposed as scams:
- Yahoo Mail
Heck, did you know that Facebook, the world’s most egregious privacy violator, operates a “free” VPN? They do. It’s called Onavo. Facebook not only tries to hide their ownership of that fake
Some “free” VPNs actually distribute malware to their users.
Wired magazine recently broke a story showing that free VPN apps such as VPN Master are infecting users with malware. In fact, almost 40% of VPN apps contain malware!
Some free VPNs harvest more than your identity, personal information, and online activity: They actually steal your bandwidth and resell it to third parties.
Quick Tip: Hundreds of thousands of people who don’t want to pay for VPN service are being victimized by free VPN scams. Don’t let this happen to you.
6. Malicious VPN apps
Some sketchy VPN providers provide malicious apps. So do some VPN apps that promise to optimize the use of your paid VPN service. Pay attention here, and you’ll understand that not all VPN services are equal.
Here are a few troubling stats:
- 84% of VPN apps leak your real IP address.
- 82% of VPN apps access private information such as user accounts and text messages.
- Three-quarters of VPN apps use third-party tracking bots.
- More than one-third of VPN apps contain malware and either steal or corrupt user data.
- 18% of VPN apps don’t really encrypt your data.
- 16% resell your bandwidth.
So, next time your browse Google Play or the Apple App Store, peruse the VPN apps. You’ll see that some of the most malicious VPN apps are those that have the highest ratings.
Quick Tip: Millions of people choose a shady VPN provider or fall for a sketchy VPN optimizer app. Don’t do it!
7. Fake VPN services
After what you’ve already read, do I have to mention this? Some VPN services aren’t VPN services at all. They’re fake.
They take your money and let you connect, but they don’t do anything to improve your online security.
Is Putlocker safe when you’re depending on a fake VPN? No! Just because you feel safe doesn’t mean that you are safe.
In many cases, fake VPNs don’t inject malware or sell your information. All they do is steal your money until you get wise. Some people never figure it out, at least not before it’s too late.
Like any other product, VPN pricing sends signals. Ask questions before you buy your VPN service. When you see a low price, you should wonder why a company is selling services that low. How do they earn a profit that way? Is their service worse than all the others? What is a fair price?
Likewise, like practically everything else, a high price doesn’t guarantee a superior product. Before paying an above average price, ask yourself if you’re getting anything to justify the high price tag.
Generally speaking, reputable VPN services cost between $60 and $120 per year. When you see a service that’s either cheaper or more expensive to find out why the prices are so far out of line.
8. False VPN claims
Many VPN providers make misleading claims. Some will lie to you outright. For instance, if you read the fine print on the PureVPN website, you’ll discover that, despite the service’s “no logs” claim, they collect user data. This means that you can use their service thinking that you’re safe from subpoenas and court orders when you’re not. ProtonVPN is another “no logs” VPN that makes false claims.
Another common false claim made by a VPN service is that they’re the “fastest” VPN. Most VPNs add overhead to your bandwidth and naturally reduce the effective speed of your internet connection. Some VPNs are especially slow because they sell their services at prices that are too low. Consequently, they’re forced to overload their systems with too many users.
Also, beware of claims that say they let you anonymously surf the web. Although many of the top VPN services have been verified for providing high levels of anonymity, most have not been confirmed to provide users with complete anonymity.
Also, remember that you’re never 100% anonymous online. Five Eyes countries such as the USA, Canada, and Australia have sophisticated systems that can draw inferences from anonymous online traffic that can identify its source.
Additionally, even if you’re logged into a truly anonymous VPN provider, you give yourself up when you log into your bank or other user-identifiable account.
Quick Tip: Increase your online anonymity by creating through two paid VPN providers at a time. Some top-tier VPN services, such as NordVPN have built-in multi-hop capabilities that automatically route your data through multiple VPN servers.
IP leak protection
IP leak protection is another frequently misrepresented feature. If at any time the IP address that you receive from your ISP is revealed online, your activity can be traced back to you. such leaks completely defeat the purpose of a VPN. Although most VPN services promise to protect you from IP leaks, many (such as PureVPN) fail in practice.
Even if you buy the best VPN, you should periodically check your connection for IP leaks. One of my favorite leak testers is doILeak.com.
DNS leaks are a similar problem. If you connect to a VPN and still use your ISP’s DNS server, you give them a way to identify your VPN-provided IP address and track you online. Again, leak tests such as doILeak.com can help you verify that you’re using a DNS server other than
9. Product reviews and user testimonials
Modern consumers are savvy. They’re aware that branded marketing messages can provide biased and misleading information. For this reason, product reviews have become a vital part of the average buying experience. Unfortunately, businesses know this.
Practically every product review site has fake product reviews. Some, such as TripAdvisor and Yelp have been exposed by high-profile news stories. The same thing happens in the VPN industry.
VPN scams can mislead you into believing the wrong thing about a VPN provider.
I’m not telling you to ignore product reviews. Instead, simply realize that what you read may or may not be true. Be especially suspicious of negative reviews. These are often paid for by competitors.
In fact, you should assume that many VPN review websites are owned by VPN services. Therefore, be suspicious of the testimonials, users reviews, and comments you find anywhere online, including on seemingly “authoritative” sites.
Disclaimer: IwantMyVPN.com is an independent business that is not owned by a VPN provider. Because of this, you can always trust us to provide you with accurate, unbiased VPN product reviews, guides, and other information. Our mission is to connect you with the best VPN service, not to shill for any particular brand.
BONUS: Unsecured VPN websites
Do you really think that a reputable VPN provider will have an unsecured website?
Anyone in the online security business knows that having a website with HTTPS is essential to user security. So, having an unsecured website is a telltale sign of VPN scams. The website owners want to steal your information without even bothering to get an SSL certificate that can help you identify site owners.
Basically, HTTPS (as indicated by the green padlock or the word “Secure” either in or near your web browser’s address bar) creates an encrypted connection between your browser and a website.
Sure, your ISP knows what site you’re on, but hackers have to go the extra mile before they can intercept your personal and financial information.
Quick Tip: Beware of ANY website that’s not secured with HTTPS. Unsecured websites leave all your data exposed to hackers, snoops, corporations, government entities, and other people who can maliciously use it.
Are you unfamiliar with HTTPS? Learn how your web browser tells you when it’s safe.
IwantMyVPN is a secure website. It’s secured with HTTPS via a Comodo certificate.
ENCORE: Third party middlemen
Every time you disclose your personal contact and financial information, you put your life on the line. In other words, middlemen VPN scams can ruin your life.
For this reason, beware of VPN sites that want you to pay for your VPN service through them. These middlemen can profit by selling your personal data. They might even steal your identity.
IwantMyVPN.com is different. When you use our links to buy your VPN service, you go to the VPN provider’s website. There, you securely enter your personal information and get the best VPN deal. We never know who you are. We never have access to any of your confidential data. Isn’t that comforting?
Quick Tip: When you’re ready to buy your VPN service, use the links provided by IwantMyVPN.com. We help you avoid VPN scams. When you use our reviews and links, you’ll get our exclusive deals directly from your VPN provider’s website. You’ll also support IwantMyVPN.com at no extra cost to you.
Avoid VPN scams
In summary, you must watch out for VPN scams. The popularity of VPN services has attracted some unscrupulous players to the industry. To get the best VPN service, avoid “free” VPNs, “lifetime” subscriptions and other scams. Also, carefully assess VPNs by reading product reviews and other articles.
After buying your VPN, periodically test it for leaks to ensure that you’re enjoying a high level of anonymity, security, and privacy while using the internet.