Which VPNs to Avoid
As concern over online privacy becomes more widespread, Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, have also increased in popularity. VPNs are some of the best and most efficient methods to provide privacy and security to one’s online experience. However, with the growing interest in online privacy and security, that are also many VPNs that are misleading people with false marketing, claims, sales gimmicks, and scams.
If you have experience in using VPNs, it should be easier for you to differentiate between a real and fraudulent VPN provider. But, for those who are new to the world of VPNs, it is difficult to tell between a real and fake VPN.
The dangers of using fraudulent VPNs range from VPN companies recording your online activity, selling your information to advertising companies, or even infecting your device with viruses and malware.
What then should you be aware of while choosing a VPN? We’ve compiled all the information you need to decipher between a legitimate VPN provider and a bogus one. Check out this VPN to see if it suits your needs.
What Is A Bad VPN
The primary function of a VPN is to hide your online traffic and identity from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and other external agents on the web. Connecting to VPN servers also allows you to bypass geographic restrictions that may be placed on some websites.
Many VPN providers claim to be able to do these things, but not all of them actually deliver on these promises. Here some tips on what you beware of while choosing a VPN provider.
Beware of VPNs that Track Your Data
You may be shocked if you knew how many VPN providers keep track of their customers’ activities. Most sell the information to third-party buyers like advertising companies, search engines, or even cybercriminals to make a profit off your data.
As such, it is important to look through the VPN company’s terms and conditions. Pay special attention to how they store the data and what their policy outlines. Is the data collected used to better the company’s services or is it sold for monetary gains? If it’s the latter, stay clear of this VPN company.
Beware of VPNs that Require Private Data
VPNs are supposed to protect your data and keep it private, and that means even from the VPN provider itself. If a VPN requires personal information such as your handphone number, address, and date of birth, you should avoid it. You should also avoid using VPNs that only allow you to pay with your credit card. Legitimate VPN providers allow their customers to pay through anonymous payment methods such as Paypal, gift cards, or even virtual currencies like Bitcoin.
Beware of VPN Subscriptions
You may come across VPN providers advertising lifetime subscriptions at low prices as clickbait. However, running a secure VPN service is not cheap and therefore can’t be offered to customers at such low prices.
Many fraudulent VPN providers sell lifetime memberships but don’t honor these memberships. After selling a large number of lifetime subscriptions, the owners simply pay themselves out and close the business.
While this might seem like a lot of things to remember while choosing a VPN provider, freight not, we’ve compiled a list of VPN companies you should steer clear of:
At the top of our list is ExpatSurfer. This VPN provider is guilty of taking customers’ money and not providing them with the information needed to download and install the VPN. According to customer feedback, ExpatSurfer is also unresponsive to emails and contact requests.
2. Betternet VPN
Never trust reviews and ratings, even if they’re posted on mobile app stores. Betternet has over 12200 ratings on the Apple App Store and 4.6 stars. However, Betternet VPN is guilty of everything you should avoid in a VPN such as logging user data, selling it to third-parties, and leaking user IP addresses.
3. Liberty VPN
Though Liberty VPN seems like a legitimate VPN provider upon first glance, past customers have complained about poor connection performance, terrible customer service, and a limited range of servers to choose from.
What’s more, customers who delete their accounts will be charged $250 an hour for going against the companies terms of service.
4. Hola VPN
Hola is a free VPN service but is also known as one of the worst VPNs available in the market. The VPN offers absolutely no privacy to customers who use it. In 2015, the provider was caught turning users’ devices into exit nodes and selling customer data to third parties.
Upon first glance, EarthVPN seems like a trustworthy VPN provider, as it supports all of the standard VPN protocols, gives users access to just under 200 geographic locations, and has an incredible price of only $40/year. Unknown to many, however, is that the provider has ceased to update its service for quite a long time. Yet the checkout page has not been taken down and customers can subscribe to the VPN service.
Unless you want your money to go to waste, it’s best to avoid this VPN provider.
Cryptostorm is actually a decent VPN service. However, it is most likely being monitored by FBI agents. The backstory is long and convoluted but it has to do with Crypstorm’s founder Douglas Spink, a drug runner and zoophile.
7. Hotspot Shield VPN
Though Hotspot Shield claims not to keep logs of customer data, they collect customers’ mobile ID, network information, hardware information, operating system information, and more when you access the app. The company also sells this information to third-party buyers. Needless to say, you should probably give this VPN a miss.
With the increasing number of hacking cases and security issues online today, users are more cautious when it comes to VPN scams.
This list is not extensive and the onus is on you to find out which VPN providers are safe to use and which are not. With the multitude of VPN provides available out there, it may take some time to find a suitable VPN provider but your efforts will definitely pay off.
In addition, it may be tempting to simply download a free VPN to gain fast access to a website that’s blocked in your region. But remember, for your online security and privacy, VPNs are worth the small asking price.