The year 2020 has been a rollercoaster, to say the least. Other than a global health crisis, it is also the year that will be remembered as the cyber pandemic year.
According to Risk Based Security:
- There were 2,953 publicly reported breaches during the first three quarters of 2020. This is a 51% reduction compared to the same time last year.
- 2020 was recorded as the “worst year on record” by the end of Q2 for the total records exposed. The additional three months of Q3 added as many as 8.3 billion records to the count, which brings the number of records exposed through the end of September to a staggering 36 billion.
- Two breaches in Q3 of 2020 bared over 1 billion records each and four breaches exposed more than 100 million records. Together, the six breaches accounted for about 8 billion exposed records or 22.3% of the records exposed through the end of Q3.
- Within the first three quarters of 2020, more than one-fifth of reported breaches involved the use of ransomware. These events contributed to the unusually high number of unknown (11.2%) and miscellaneous (10.4%) types of data exposed.
As a significant number of people worked remotely, the use of VPNs has escalated exponentially this year.
However, not all VPNs are created equally, and before you choose the right one for you, these are the biggest scams you need to look out for.
Biggest VPN Scams to Avoid
#1 Lifetime VPN Deals
So, you’ve heard that free VPNs can be terribly dangerous when it comes to maintaining your privacy online, but what about those tempting lifetime VPN deals?
The truth is, it takes a lot of funding to purchase and maintain the servers that you connect to, not to mention new data contracts, legal expenses, hardware updates, facility upgrades, and human resources.
The VPN services that offer lifetime subscriptions tend to reduce service quality to cut costs. Additionally, it is not unlike a Ponzi-scheme, where the provider needs constant growth in new subscribers to stay afloat until it eventually collapses.
There is also a good chance that your browsing and online data gets sold to the highest bidder. This was the VPN service can earn a commission to pay the bills.
#2 Free VPNs
As we’ve just covered, it is entirely impossible to operate a truly private VPN for free. Facilities, utilities, overheads and bandwidth, staff, and physical and virtual servers all cost money.
This is why when it comes to free VPNs, you are the product. Selling your digital identity to marketers, research firms, government entities, corporations, and analytics companies, your every online move is recorded and sold.
Even worse, according to CSIRO, nearly 40% of free VPNs inject malware into your computer or smart device. Free VPNs have also been known to steal your bandwidth and then resell it to other parties.
Don’t fall victim to the free VPN scam, whatever you do.
#3 False VPN Claims
Many VPNs like to scream from the rooftops that they are the fastest VPN in the market. Obviously, this isn’t true for a majority of them, especially those that charge next to nothing. They are usually the ones that overload their servers with an excessive number of users.
PureVPN, for example, claims to have zero logs of your activities. However, in the past, they have helped the FBI catch an internet stalker by handing over those non-existing logs.
#4 Bogus Product Reviews
Consumers in today’s world are pretty savvy, and they’re not likely to purchase something unless that product or service has glowing customer feedback. Businesses are well aware of this, as well.
Most product review sites feature fake reviews, and some have even been exposed (TripAdvisor and Yelp, for example). Know that many VPN review sites are owned by VPN services themselves, and take those reviews with a grain of salt.
VPNs are truly one of the best tools ensuring digital privacy at the moment. The reality of the situation is that without one, you make every movement known online, allowing for targeted ads, the sale of your data, and more.
However, choosing the right VPN can be a challenge, with so many scams out there. Remember to choose one that fits your needs, and avoid free VPNs as well as lifetime subscriptions at all costs.