The need for VPN is increasing by the day, but how to spot a fake VPN from a legit one? The battle for net neutrality is underway, and the war is far from over. How the Internet and international online privacy policies will evolve is largely uncertain at this point in time.
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The Ever-Increasing Need for VPN
Just when the push for net neutrality and online privacy seemed to be getting some traction, the FCC rolled back one of their recently passed policies which was aimed at furthering the protection of online privacy. In fact, the FCC has completely turned the tables on the topic and the FCC chair is now actually pushing against net neutrality.
Considering that it may take years or even decades for the dust to settle, people find the need to take matters of their online anonymity and privacy into their own hands. One of the easiest ways in which an everyday Joe can secure himself\herself online is with the use of VPN software.
Therefore, the demand for VPNs has increased substantially in recent years. With the raise in demand, unfortunately, there has also been a surge in fake or dummy VPN software’s which do absolutely nothing at best and unsuspecting users are actually paying for such smoke and mirrors.
In this article, we will deal with some of the telltale signs and warning flags which will help you identify which VPNs are fake and differentiate them from the legitimate ones. This way, your online privacy is intact and you are not being conned into paying for a completely make belief fake VPN software.
What Is a VPN and How Does It Work?
However, before we get to telling a fake VPN from a real one, let’s spend a brief moment understanding what a VPN essentially is at its core and how it protects you.
As an analogy you can compare a VPN to a curtain drape. When the drapes are closed in your house, it will block anyone outside from peeping inside. Likewise, a VPN does the same thing for your Internet activity. This way, no one, not even your Internet service provider will know what it is that you do online kind of like we have no idea why The Force Awakens was so weak and why Hollywood would make Meet the Parents II and III when they had to realize the script was so pitiful – some things just cannot be explained! You can read more about what VPN is and how it works here.
Why is Online Privacy Important?
It is no big secret that ISPs and other companies collect your browsing information, the online services you use, the products you buy and everything else that you do and say online and use this information to bombard you with targeted adverts. In fact, companies will sell all of your clicks, views and data to advertisers and such.
So you might be wondering – what if I don’t really care that companies are selling my data online. Even if this be the case, you could still benefit from using a VPN. How so?
Well, a VPN will not only protect you from an ISP that wants to profit of off your data, but also from hackers, fraudsters and cybercriminals who may be stealing personal and sensitive data such as credit card information, banking information and more.
Fake VPN – The Warning Flags
Given all of the pros of using a VPN, it is no surprise that more and more people are jumping on the VPN wagon these days. This is a good thing, except for the fact that some of these wagons are big time dupes.
A lot of dud VPNs which do nothing are floating around the internet and being marketed to unsuspecting victims who not just purchase them but even subscribe to them – paying on a monthly basis.
It is not difficult to spot a fake VPN; look out for 5 warning signs:
- Claims Without Substance – When a VPN software touts itself as being the fastest or the most secure, or the most private, it is usually a fake VPN. There are several well renowned third parties who assess and evaluate such VPNs. So if you cannot really find a VPN which is self-proclaimed to be fastest or most private being reviewed by a third party reviewer, then it is unquestionably fake.
- Sparse, non-existent customer support – Any legitimate company will provide some sort of support to their subscribers. If a VPN company lacks extensive support options. No official social media presence, no online forums, then in all likelihood, you are dealing with a dud.
- Reviews, reviews, and more reviews – Reviews are extremely helpful in ascertaining the legitimacy and the quality of a VPN software. However, it is naive and gullible to trust reviews which are on the website of the company itself, those are often paid for or fabricated. Always look for reviews on generic review websites for a realistic understanding of what you can expect from a VPN software product that you are considering.
- Free VPNs – Nothing in life is truly free. The same applies to online service including VPN. If a service is being advertised as free, more often than not the user is the product. Free VPNs such as Hola have been caught selling their users bandwidth. Hotspot Shield, another ‘free’ VPN, has recently being accused of selling their users private data to third party companies.
- No Refund Policy – Most legitimate VPNs offer their users a money-back guarantee that can range between 7 to 30 days. That means you can try the service and see if it suits your needs without any risks. In case the VPN service you’re about to sign up with does not have a clear refund policy, we advise you to try a different VPN instead.
Legit VPN Service Providers – The Ones You Can Trust
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How to Spot a Fake VPN – The Wrap Up
In conclusion, protecting your data and privacy is critical no matter who you are. A VPN is a cheap and effective way to keep out prying eyes. Just make sure you stick to recognized, well renowned, and reviewed VPNs.