At the end of March 2017, the U.S. Congress repealed a law that prevented Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from selling users’ browsing data. The repeal is widely regarded as an infringement of user privacy. People are actively looking for ways to keep their online activity private i.e., they’re shopping for a VPN service. VPN services have been around for years but now they’re becoming synonymous to having car insurance. With so many people looking to buy VPN services, it was only a matter of time before someone tried to take advantage of it. Fake VPN services are cropping up and they are more than just a shady websites. These services are pretending to be affiliated with popular services, and they’re invading your inbox. Here’s how to keep yourself safe.
Most targets will be via Email saying that you have been a Plex,Kodi,Boxee, Android, Apple user for a very long time. The email in question pretended to be a VPN service that Plex,Kodi,Boxee, Android, Apple has launched. It offered a discounted rate to the users to reel them in. The email also included a ‘referral’ link for Plex users so they could avail the service.
Here is an example for Plex scam Email looks like.
This email is somewhat professional. There was a website, a proper physical address for the company, and a phone number. Vice did a good bit of digging to get to the bottom of who was behind this email but the average user isn’t likely to go that far.
According to the email for this fake VPN service, you’re getting a discount for joining early. It tells you how much you have to pay. What it doesn’t tell you is what it is you’re buying; how many connections are you getting, is there a bandwidth limit, does the VPN block ads, is this for your desktop or your phone, or both. The email doesn’t touch on any of that. There is no link to a proper product page where you can check out the different plans they have to offer. More importantly, the email doesn’t say if the $9.99 subscription is for one month, three months, or an entire year.
Knowing if its a scam
You can hover your mouse to see where that link is actually taking you. A company like Apple, Android, Plex big or small will not direct you to another website that isn’t the main website. It’s always better NOT to click on the link and if you’re really interested to see these changes you can always visit that companies real website and they will show somewhere on its blog (www.apple.com, www.Plex.com, ect) If you don’t see anything on that main website, then you know its fake.
Also, compare the language from other Email promotions you’ve gotten from those companies. If those emails are different or you see grammar,spelling or something totally different, changes are “its fake”. Sometimes you will even visit a website that offers VPN protection but it’s a totally fake subscription and the program you’re installing is simply a fake smoke and mirrors letting you know you’re protected. The best way to know if by asking the Experts like us.
What’s at risk?
The obvious risk of signing up for a fake VPN service is money. If you think the service is legit, you will subscribe to it. Whether or not you actually get a VPN is a different story. The scammers might take your money and disappear. If they’re ambitious, they’ll send you an app or a link to set things up. This will, in return, infect your system or just take it hostage.
A fake VPN service can be the age old phising scam. If you visit the link provided in the email and sign in using, for example, your Google account, your password might be stolen. If you’ve used the same password for different accounts, you will be at greater risk. Your credit card information might be stolen.
How To Stay Safe
If you’re new to all this, it’s best to pick a trustworthy VPN service, one that has been around for a few years and people can vouch for. As for these scam emails, it’s safe to say they’re getting smarter. For every countermeasure against scams, there are ten new ways to scam people. The less tech savvy a person is, the more likely they are to be scammed. If you receive an email for a new VPN service (or really anything new) that claims it’s affiliated with a product you already use, run a few checks,
- Check for an official announcement by the service. Going back to the email that started it all, if Plex really were starting a new VPN service, there would’ve been an announcement on the official blog.
- Check social media for product announcements by the company.
- Check the email address the email was sent from.
- Google it. We’re not kidding. Just Google if Hulu is indeed starting a space program and you’ve actually been selected to head the mission to Mars, or is it just scammers trying to get your personal information. New products, especially by large companies are covered extensively in the news. If nothing else, there will be some reviews.
- Carbon date the service. How long has it been around? Did it conveniently spring into existence the day a subversive law was passed? It’s likely fake
- Due diligence; in the age of brick and mortar stores there was a thing called ‘buyer beware’. It was up to a buyer to determine whether what they were buying was real, authenticate, and without defects. Contact customer support or email them. Learn what it is you’re paying for. Verify whether or not the service is what it claims to be.
If you’re interested in getting a VPN service, we can direct you to a few trusted (approved) services and we will talk to thru the steps on signing up. Remember to always use a temporary Visa from your local gas station if you want to feel safe. We can even setup the account for you and ensure the VPN program is installed correctly. To get started you can chat with us on this website chat widget or contact us at 574-387-6229.