As increasing interest develops into VPN technology, we are starting to see more and more VPN scams lately. VPN scams can be anything from mismanaged VPNs masquerading as the “best VPNs around”, or even full fledged scams that promise reduced prices for longer commitments which don’t last more than a few weeks. We see VPN scams in the form of coupons, fake reviews, stack social scams, VPN affiliations, VPN apps, and even from “free VPNs”.
Every week there are more and more VPN providers popping up with “state of the art” encryption that promise 100% anonymity, the best speeds, and a secure and private browsing experience that the NSA can’t even crack. In fact, you’ll even find lengthy and polished reviews from VPN critics and “writers” who have tested such softwares with good things to say.
Suffice to say, the VPN industry is crashing and burning when we need it most. With so many misleading VPN providers, affiliate scam VPN reviewers, and “anonymity gurus” around on the internet, who can you trust? Which VPNs should you even use?
Let me tell you this. If a website even has “VPN reviews” or even a chart with information about speeds and policies (it is very hard to prove ANY information about a VPN), that’s already a sign some bias is involved. Don’t trust these sites–please.
But unlike these anonymity gurus and VPN reviewers, I’m not “reviewing VPNs” or affiliated with any site at all. Heck, I don’t even have some Twitter account where I pretend to be your best friend or “V for Vendetta” anonymity guardian. I’m not looking for fame, or backlinks, or Reddit acknowledgement. I don’t want to be a mod, or interviewed on podcasts. In fact, I don’t even take donations from this site.
Everything here is just to warn you and educate you about VPN scams, how VPNs work, and what you should avoid. If you should know anything about me, I’m just some pissed off dude with a burning desire to burn and destroy VPN scams and fake VPN providers who promise it all.
Because after all, anonymity isn’t a joke or a scheme, or a way for me to make money. It’s not some get rich quick scheme. It’s something to be taken seriously that affects the world more and more each year as the internet grows and countries start to learn that they can control, subvert, and even manipulate citizens with censorship and internet control. In China, people can’t even visit Wikipedia for christ’s sake, and Winnie the Pooh is blacklisted. What the actual fuck?
In this extended guide on VPN scams, I’ll give you an overview of each type of VPN scams, and what forms they can come in.
#1 Should I Get a Lifetime VPN Subscription?
First up, should you get a lifetime VPN subscription? Well, let’s examine basic VPN pricing first.
Running a VPN is expensive, there’s no way around it. Let me rephrase that. Running a “good VPN” is expensive. Running a cheap shitty VPN that collects and sells your data? Well, now that’s cheap!
If you are looking at a VPN who’s offering a lifetime subscription, they are probably doing so for a few reasons.
#1 Offering a lifetime subscription for this “VPN company” is affordable since they are making money in some other lucrative fashion like selling data for ads.
#2 The VPN provider makes tons of money off ads, browser redirects, or some other form of third party commission sales.
#3 After a year or two, or even some months, the VPN provider might just cancel your subscription or change the pricing model wasting your time, and money.
#4 The VPN is running some type of Ponzi scheme which means they need more and more users to remain financially stable and they may rely on #1 or #2.
How do “lifetime VPN subscriptions” work?
There are a few ways that lifetime subs usually rope you in. They use a few methods that are super obvious.
Usually they have some type of absurd discount, like 95% for a “limited time” with a star system that indicates good reviews. Then they have other deals that seem more expensive to make you think you’re getting a good deal.
Even better is that sometimes when you get these “lifetime subs” there is fine print that actually says they aren’t lifetime, but “renewable” for free. This requires you to personally contact their support, and who knows if that’ll work later on down the line.
Here’s a customer who bought a “lifetime sub” from Zenmate VPN:
“dont bother with so called “lifetime” vpns when normally they dont. my story is that i use zenmate and i had used ther free version which i found worked well. therefore i got the offer. however its so basic with the desktop version cutting out as well as the android version. its not like it uses openvpn so you cant say use other devices. then 1 day the premium decided to revert to free and after about 2 mouths of trying to get in contact with them as they have really bad support it turned out to be a technical glitch so they did sort it in the end but the big con with lifetime offers is 1 what if the company goes bust and 2nd what if its poor and you cant really switch unless you sell your account to some poor bugger or give it away for free. i did lose £30 because of this.”
#2 Should I Use a Free VPN?
So what’s the story behind free vpns? Well the main idea is that you need to realize why they are “free”. Why would a company give you something for free? We can take a look at any company really to answer this.
Free video games often make money off in-game advertisements, and free VPN companies do the same. They make you pay more for data, or a special “feature” that should be included.
Or you pay to get more “connections” where again, they should be included. Or you can look at mobile gaming as an example. Most “free games” on the iPhone or Android are pieces of garbage loaded with advertisements and in game purchases. Free games are designed around a payment model instead of gameplay mechanics. Free VPNs aren’t any different. At the end of the day, you aren’t paying for a quality product.
While companies like Facebook or Google give you free products and profit off your data, at least this examples give you a valuable product. Free VPNs aren’t a valuable product since they give you slow speeds, they can leak your sensitive data, and in worst cases scenarios, they can even give you a virus!
Summary of How “free” VPNs make money:
#1 Stealing data via malware, logging, or some other form of tracking and selling it to other third parties
#2 Redirecting your browser or from in-app to e-commerce, financial sites, or other commissions based platforms
#3 Stealing bandwidth to form a botnet, as in the case infamous (and still running VPN) Hola VPN
#3 Should I use a VPN App on iOS or Android Store?
One of the biggest platforms for bad VPN applications is the iOS and Google Play Store. These app stores are barely regulated and the VPN apps on these stores are most often free with the aforementioned incentives.
Even worse, a study on applications found on the Android store reveals that most Android VPN apps leak your IP, access your sensitive data, use tracking, contain malware, don’t even encrypt your data, and steal your bandwidth.
The scariest part is that most of these VPN apps on the app stores are highely rated, which suggests that a large number of users are unaware of the malware and data tracking/mining that is going on their very phone.
#4 Watch out for VPN Affiliates and Big Sites and Fake Reviews
Have you heard of websites like BestVPN.com, or other VPN review sites? These sites are based on affiliate commissions and most often the top rated VPNs are sponsored and placed there.
VPN review sites are based on who pays them the most and usually there’s an underlying bias to their reviews. For example, BestVPN.com prefers UK VPNs since they are based in the UK.
If you ask me which VPN I use–what do you think I’ll tell you?
Another website to look out for is restoreprivacy.com. They are a smaller VPN reviewer site warning about scams, when in fact they themselves use affiliate programs to profit off recommendations without any clear mention of affiliation or sponsored content.
I actually got into an argument with the owner on Reddit after he claimed I stole his content, when in fact, all of this content here is 100% legit and actually veritable since I’m not running a VPN review site scam. He actually deleted his account since I caught him red-handed advertising his affiliate website.
#5 Watch out for “Shitty” Stacksocial Scams and Third Party Websites
Heard of Stacksocial? Well, hopefully you haven’t used their site anytime soon since they are one of the biggest VPN scam websites on the internet right now.
Firstly, in order to buy a VPN on their site, it’s usually a lifetime subscription, and we already outlined how those are usually default scams and tricks due to sketchy “discounts” and subscriptions that can be canceled with fine print.
Secondly, you have to give your private information, and banking details to a third party website that is in no shape or form a privacy anonymity service like a VPN company. Why would a VPN company partner with Stacksocial? They obviously don’t value anonymity. If you can find ANY VPN selling on Stacksocial, automatically disregard and don’t use it if you value your operational security.