In the age of no privacy, scam VPN services are on the loose

By: George Finley
2 minute read

As a computer user, which is almost everyone at this point, it’s important to not only know how the constantly changing legal landscape affects your digital rights but how the opportunists out there try to take advantage, too. And ever since the GOP in Congress killed privacy rules, a variety of scam companies have arisen to do just that.

FCC Regulations Killed

Last week, the United States Congress voted to kill FCC regulations and President Trump signed the bill into law. Those regulations prevented ISPs from selling your personal browsing history to third parties through “trusted partners”. One of the results? Interest in VPN services soared, something scam companies have noticed and are taking advantage of.

MySafeVPN

One of the latest scams is related to hacks of the Plex and Boxee forums which exposed the email addresses of forum users. Everything points to MySafeVPN as the culprit,  a phony web service that began sending messages to Plex and Boxee users faking an affiliation with their services. Thanks to an investigation by VICE, the service was proven to be nothing more than a scam.

Caution is advised

This is a serious problem. If you or anyone you know is considering purchasing a VPN, it’s strongly advised to thoroughly review that company’s history. Remember the old saying: “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”

Keep an eye on businesses that advertise free, low-cost, or a well-affiliated VPN product. While it’s nature that more and more companies are going to offer VPN services, it’s important to stay vigilant regardless.

In addition be aware of some of the limitations involved with the use of a VPN. Services like Netflix may not function properly, web surfing can get slower, torrents might not work at optimal levels, and so on. A good VPN provider should be able to mitigate these shortcomings if you do the proper research beforehand to find one.

Despite Congress’ decision to kill FCC’s privacy rules, this law is very unpopular in the US. But like many other unpopular laws there, there doesn’t seem like there’s much in the way of effective opposition at this particular moment.

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