News

Can a VPN Protect You From Online Expat Scams?

Moving to a new country is not always as glamorous as globe-trotters make it look. Living in a new country can be quite an adventure for an expat considering you’re constantly exposed to things you don’t know: a new language, new cultural traditions, and new laws. And that’s what makes you vulnerable.

Unfortunately, some of the easiest targets for online scams are children, the elderly, tourists, and expats. To raise awareness against these frauds, we’ll talk about the most common online scams and what you should do to avoid them.

Examples of Online Scams

Please remember that these are just a few examples – the list can go on and on. So keep your eyes peeled for anything that looks shady anytime you’re online.

Phishing Scams

Data analysis shows that Google has registered more than 2 million phishing websites at the start of 2020. These frauds revolve around the idea that you’ll get an email where they trick you into clicking on a malicious attachment or a link.

They might claim that you’re eligible for stimulus money, you have unpaid invoices, or there might be a problem with your bank account.

Public WiFi Exploitation

Public WiFi can be hacked easily because the traffic is not encrypted. Hackers use specific software to do what’s called “packet sniffing”. That means that they will get access to any data packets that are traveling from and to your device.

This way, scammers have access to all your personal information.

Anything That’s Too Good to Be True

And this should cover any eCommerce website with incredible offers, jaw-dropping prices for luxury goods, time-limited discounts, or anything that sounds amazing and puts pressure on you to buy it impulsively.

Chances are that those eCommerce sites exist only for a few days, sell fake products, and once they rip you off, they’ll disappear. Often, they might double-charge you and never send you the products.

These websites collect your private data such as:

  • Address
  • Email
  • Credit or debit card numbers

5 Important Tips to Avoid Online Scams

  1. Don’t share private information.
  2. Don’t send or accept money from people or organizations you don’t know.
  3. Don’t click on emails to verify your bank profile.
  4. Don’t give in to pressure to make a decision on the spot.
  5. Don’t buy products or tickets from non-authorized websites.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network that hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic.

When you’re connected to a VPN, the traffic will be re-routed through a VPN server, and only after receiving a layer of protection will you be redirected to the website you want to access.

This way, no one on the internet will know it’s you, not even the government.

What a VPN Can Do Protect You

If you’re browsing the internet while connected to a VPN, scammers won’t see your real IP, because your online presence is hidden. Without your IP, they can’t track your online movements or use phishing attacks against your ISP.

Also, VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, so hackers can’t spy on it to see what sites you browse. This way, they can’t redirect you to shady websites because they can’t see your traffic (so they don’t know what sites you’re supposed to land on).

Also, a VPN is useful because it comes with an ad blocker. On top of getting rid of annoying ads (including malicious ads you might see on public WiFi), it also blocks connections to phishing sites.

What a VPN Can’t Do to Protect You

A VPN can’t protect you if you deliberately click on malicious attachments or links because it can’t prevent malware from infecting your device.

What’s more, some viruses can infect your device when you’re offline. Since you need an internet connection to log in to your VPN account, there is no way a VPN can help you with anything that happens when you’re offline.

So even if a VPN connection is strong enough to protect your web traffic, it can’t deal with software-level viruses. For these situations, you can use antiviruses and antimalware programs. These are security tools designed to protect your device at any time.

Other Benefits of Using a VPN

If you’re living in a restrictive country like China, you’ll discover that you don’t have access to any social platforms that you’d normally use daily. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp are just a few examples.

With a VPN you can bypass government censorship and login into your favorite social network.

For example, if you wanted to connect to Twitter from China, it won’t be possible because the Chinese Firewall will block your attempt automatically. However, if you connect to a VPN server from Japan, you’ll communicate with the web via a Japanese IP. And since Twitter isn’t banned in Japan, you’ll be able to access the platform just fine, even though you’re physically located in China.

What’s more, a VPN can unblock streaming services as well, so you can enjoy any TV shows from anywhere on the planet.

The most popular VPN providers like CyberGhost VPN, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark can unblock streaming services like:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime
  • Hulu
  • YouTube
  • Disney+
  • Fubo
  • Peacock
  • BBC iPlayer

Conclusion

To make sure you’re protected from all these online scams, use a VPN so you’ll rest assured that your traffic is encrypted. Besides, to make sure you’re truly protected, you should always use a VPN together with an antivirus program.

If you spot any scam signs, don’t forget to flag those issues to the government authorities. In the process, you’ll help both you and other expats live in a safer environment.

Have you heard about other types of online scams that might put others in danger? Please let us know in the comments what online scams you happen to notice so we can include all of them in a future article. Together we can raise awareness and make the internet a safer place!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button