Best VPN For Netflix Japan: Unblock Netflix Japan and Watch From Anywhere

Japanese expats, anime fans, and anyone else wanting access to the largest streaming library in the world will need to use a VPN to unblock Netflix Japan. But which provider do you choose, and how do you actually go about getting a Japanese IP and bypassing the Netflix proxy error? We tell all in today’s guide, so read on.

Netflix is increasingly popular, and many people use it instead of an old fashioned television to watch movies and TV shows on their computers. With well over 6,000 unique titles, Japan has the largest Netflix library in the world, (yes, even bigger than Netflix US.) This selection includes a ton of anime that isn’t available on other Netflix sites around the world. As just a few examples, some of the anime series available to stream on Netflix Japan include Violet Evergarden (which can be watched with subtitles in Korean, Chinese, English, and Portuguese), The Garden of Words, Tokyo Ghoul, Blame, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, Gunslinger Girls, and Kill la Kill. You can also watch classic animes like the Ghost in the Shell movie, Cowboy Bebop, Card Captor Sakura, and Dragonball. But what to do if you’re an anime aficionado or simply love the Japanese cinema, but don’t live in the country?

If you’re a Netflix user who wants to be able to watch Japanese movies and TV shows (plus more content from elsewhere in the world) then you need a VPN. With a virtual private network, you can unblock and access the Japanese Netflix service from anywhere in the world, giving you access to loads of content that isn’t available in your region. Read on to find out more and to see our recommendations for the best VPN for Netflix Japan.

Why Some Content Is Only Available On Netflix Japan

So how is it that Netflix can show some content in Japan, but not elsewhere? The answer is to do with copyright restrictions. When a service like Netflix wants to be able to stream a particular movie or TV show, they must pay the copyright holder for the rights to show it. However, the rights have to be purchased separately for each country. So you could buy the rights to stream a film in the Japan, but you would have to buy the rights to stream the same movie in US separately.

LEARN MORE: What are geoblocks, and how do you beat them?

This means that Netflix does not pay for the rights for all of their content for all countries. It’s a matter of return on investment; why pay for streams in countries where anime isn’t popular? What makes good business sense can leave foreign fans of Japanese entertainment in the dark, but fortunately there is a workable solution.

Using A VPN To Unblock Netflix

Despite copyright restrictions, the good news for Netflix users is that it is in fact possible to watch content from other countries using a virtual private network. A VPN works by installing software onto the device that you are using to access Netflix, which encrypts all of the data that your device sends over the internet. This encrypted data is then passed to a server run by your VPN company, where it is decrypted and sent on to its original location.

The advantage of this encryption-and-proxy process is not only an improvement in your online security and privacy, but also the ability to get around regional restrictions. When you connect to a VPN server, your data appears to originate from the location of the server rather than your actual location. You will be assigned an IP address corresponding to the country of the server rather than your real IP address. This means that if you are based in the US and then connect to a server in Japan, you will be assigned a Japanese IP address. Then, when you visit the Netflix website, the site will think that you are coming from Japan and therefore let you access all of the Netflix Japan content, even though you are actually based in the US.

The only problem with this process is that Netflix has started to use VPN blocking software to stop users from using a VPN on their site. This VPN blocking software detects if a VPN is being used through criteria such as whether there are multiple users accessing the site from the same IP address, or whether your IP address is in a range known to be used by VPN services. If the software detects VPN use, then your connection will be refused and you won’t be able to stream Netflix videos; instead, you’ll be served the dreaded Netflix proxy error.

This is why most VPNs don’t work with Netflix any more. However, the good news is that there are still some VPNs that do work with Netflix, and we’ve identified the particular providers that users can use to unblock the service.

Editor’s note: there is an ongoing battle of blocking and unblocking efforts between Netflix and VPNs. All our recommendations make a noble attempt at staying ahead of the game, but it is inevitable that there will be times when Netflix prevails and blocks even the best VPNs. In such cases, we recommend that you try various servers apart from the ones previously proven to work. Barring that, the best antidote for the problem is giving VPN providers time to adapt, which can range from a few hours to several weeks. Unfortunate, but that’s the price you pay for unlimited global content. We’ll take it.

How To Choose A Great VPN

In order to find the best VPN provider for your needs to unblock Netflix Japan, we considered the following factors:

  1. VPN that works with Netflix. As not every VPN provider works to let you unblock Netflix, we look for the specific VPNs that do work to let you access other regional versions of Netflix like Netflix US.
  2. A large network of servers so that you have plenty of options to choose from when you come to connection to your VPN. It also helps to have servers in many different countries for best flexibility.
  3. Fast connection speeds so that you can stream video content in high definition with no buffering, and so you can also download large files quickly without any delays.
  4. Software support for different operating systems so that you can install the software on any of the devices that you use to watch Netflix, which could include your phone, your computer, your smart TV, or your games console.
  5. Excellent security. As well as letting you unblock Netflix, a good VPN will improve your cyber security by keeping you safe from hacking attacks and other online threats.

Best VPNs To Unblock Netflix Japan Anywhere

When we looked at each of these factors we came up with the following recommendations for VPN providers for unblocking Netflix Japan:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN - Editors choice

ExpressVPN is the all around winner of VPN services, with no compromises in the areas of security, speed, and ease of use. It is the most reliable VPN that we’ve come across in our testing of VPNs that work with Netflix. You can see the guide on the website for more information about using ExpressVPN to watch Netflix, or just reach out to their customer service department if you’re having trouble.

As the name suggests, ExpressVPN has super fast connections which are perfect for streaming, as well as strong security with 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy on usage data. There is a massive network of servers to choose from, with over 3,000 servers in 160 different locations in 94 countries, including Japan. The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Linux, plus some games consoles and modems.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

Pros

  • Unblocks American Netflix, iPlayer, Hulu
  • Super fast servers
  • Very simple and easy to use
  • No personal information logs kept
  • Live Chat Support.
Cons

  • Max 3 connections simultaneously
  • Power-users configuration options.

BEST FOR NETFLIX JAPAN: ExpressVPN’s robust encrypted server network offers fast, reliable access to Japanese Netflix anywhere in the world. Get 3 months free and save 49% on the annual plan. 30-day money back guarantee included.

2. NordVPN*

When you want the very best security as well as a reliable way to get around region locks, then we recommend NordVPN. Its security features include the standard strong 256-bit encryption and no logging policy that we would expect, but it has a unique and important feature called double encryption. This means that data sent over the network is encrypted two times over for the maximum security possible. The connections are fast enough to stream high definition video and the server network has more than 5,100 servers in around 60 different countries including Japan.

In our testing, we’ve found NordVPN to be effective even on sites with VPN detection, and it absolutely works with Netflix.  The NordVPN software can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Chrome OS, Android, and Windows Phone, plus the Chrome and Firefox web browsers.

Read our full NordVPN review.

Pros

  • Servers optimized for unblocking Netflix
  • GooglePlay users rating: 4.3/5.0
  • DNS leak protection, kill switch
  • Retains no metadata of your browsing
  • 24/7 Live Chat.
Cons

  • Automatic server selection can be unreliable
  • Apps can be a bit cumbersome to use.

BEST BUDGET VPN: Get a huge 70% discount for signing up for the 3-year plan, taking the monthly price down to only $3.49. Also note that all plans come with a “no hassle” 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. CyberGhost

cyberghost

CyberGhost is the ideal VPN for new users who want a simple and easy to use VPN. In order to use the CyberGhost service, you just have to open up the software and select Unblock Streaming. Then you’ll see a drop down menu with options, and you select Netflix. Now you will be connected to a server that gives you access to Netflix and all the settings and configuration will be taken care of for you automatically. It’s a snap to set up and the connections are plenty fast for streaming HD videos.

In addition to ease of use, the security is also good with 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy. If you want to connect to a server manually then you can do so, and you can choose from a network of 5,900 servers in nearly 90 countries. For help troubleshooting connecting or streaming issues with Netflix, their customer support team is just a call or email away. The software is available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac OS.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

Pros

  • SPECIAL OFFER: 79%OFF
  • 3,600+ servers, 55+ countries
  • Robust encryption standards
  • Zero logs
  • Money-back guarantee.
Cons

  • Some streaming sites cannot be unblocked.

4. PureVPN

purevpn

PureVPN‘s offering goes beyond other providers on the market. In addition to standard VPN functionality (with an expansive network of 2,000+ servers in more than 140 countries worldwide), a subscription to PureVPN nets you a whole security suite that can be used to protect your device. These features include anti malware and anti virus protection, an anti spam filter for your email inbox, DDoS protection, app filtering, a kill switch, a dedicated IP address, and a NAT firewall. The software is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS, and Android TV devices, plus there are browser extensions available for the Chrome and Firefox browsers.

Of course, PureVPN is also a popular choice for users who want to unblock Netflix. Please note that your mileage may vary with countries outside the US, including Japan. Netflix is adamant about cracking down on VPNs, and PureVPN is no exception. It makes our list for the same reason that all others do: The provider is dedicated to countering these blocking measures. If you can’t seem to get your anime fix from Netflix Japan, just give it some time.

You can see information about using Netflix with the PureVPN service on their website along with a guide on troubleshooting Netflix errors. Don’t hesitate to reach out to their customer help line if you don’t find these resources immediately useful.

Read our full PureVPN review.

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5. VyprVPN

If you want the best way to get around VPN blocks of all kinds, like those used in China as well as those used by Netflix, then we recommend VyprVPN. As well as good security with 256-bit encryption and a no logging policy, VyprVPN has a unique feature in their special Chameleon protocol. The Chameleon protocol works by encrypting not only your data, but also your metadata – that is, the information about the origin and destination of your data. Some VPN blocking software works by comparing the origin of the data as shown by the metadata with the location shown by a user’s IP, and if these two do not match, then blocking the connection. Chameleon gets around this by encrypting the metadata so that it can’t be read, meaning there is no indication that a VPN is being used. This means you can use this VPN even on networks with VPN blocking.

VyprVPN can be used with Netflix, and they also have advice on their site on how VPNs can improve Netflix speeds if you are being throttled on specific websites by your ISP. As well as these features, VyprVPN has speeds which are adequate if not the fastest, a network of more than 700 servers in 70 different countries, and software available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

Read our full VyprVPN review.

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6. StrongVPN

When your biggest want is the strongest possible encryption, then you can’t do better than StrongVPN. It has incredibly strong encryption of up to 2048-bit, so it will protect your data from even the most sophisticated encryption cracking attempts. Of course, there’s also a no logging policy to complement this outstanding security.

The server network on offer is much smaller than the other three VPN providers above, with around 650 servers in just 46 cities in 26 countries. However, this does include servers in Tokyo, Japan so you can happily use the service for your Netflix Japan needs. In that vein, connections should work with Netflix just fine but in case they don’t, StrongVPN offers a guide to accessing more sites which are geographically blocked.

The connections are fast enough for streaming video and you can use an unlimited amount of bandwidth with no speed limits. You can get the software for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

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Why Do Only Some VPNs Work With Netflix?

Around last year, lots of users noticed that their VPNs no longer work with Netflix. If you used a VPN and tried to watch Netflix from another country, videos wouldn’t play and you would get the dreaded error message:

“Whoops, something went wrong. Streaming error. You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again.”

So what is going on with Netflix now? Why did some VPNs stop working with the service over the last year or so? The problem is that although Netflix used to have a rather relaxed attitude towards people accessing their content with a VPN, recently they have grown a lot as a company and also started to make more original content of their own. As Netflix grew bigger, there was more and more pressure put on them from copyright holders to protect their copyright. For example, 20th Century Fox might have a film, and they make an agreement with Netflix that they can show that film in the US and in Canada only.

But if Netflix users in Europe can easily access that film, then the copyright holder is losing out on revenue that the audience could generate in their region. The other issue is that as Netflix has got into making its own series like Orange is the New Black or Jessica Jones, they have been very motivated to prevent unofficial use of their service in order to protect their own copyrights.

All of this means that Netflix became much more concerned with stopping people from using VPNs to get around region locks and watching content from regions other than their own. The Netflix servers now have VPN detection software which analyses incoming connections and blocks them if the connections appear to come from a VPN. So now your trusty VPN might not work on Netflix any more. The way this VPN detection works is not fully known, but it is likely to be a combination of factors:

  • The first way a VPN is detected by Netflix is if a connection has a shared IP address. Most VPN providers used shared IP addresses, meaning that many different people route their connections with the same IP, as this is good for anonymity and privacy. However, Netflix can guess that if one IP address is being used by hundreds of people at once, then it is likely a VPN connection. Netflix then blocks this one IP, stopping all of the VPN users from being able to access their content.

FULL GUIDE: How to get a unique VPN IP address

  • Another way a VPN can be detected is if the IP address you have been assigned is one of those that are in a range known to be used by VPNs. VPN providers typically buy up large numbers of IP addresses in sequence, so Netflix blocks whole ranges of IP addresses that it suspects belong to a VPN.

All of this has meant that many VPNs do not work with Netflix any more. But all is not lost. There are still VPNs that do work with Netflix.

Conclusion

There is some content which is only available on Netflix Japan or other regional versions of the site and is not available on Netflix elsewhere. If you are a Netflix user who loves Japanese media and you want to unblock the service to access content on Netflix from anywhere in the world, then you need a VPN.

With a VPN you can get around regional restrictions to stream any content available on any regional version of Netflix. Unfortunately, Netflix’s VPN blocking efforts are super effective vs. most providers. The ones we’ve listed above have a proven track record of keeping ahead of the game, so if you find your desired content is still blocked, you can trust your VPN to do whatever they can to make it right. Just be patient.

Do you use a VPN with Netflix? Which VPN provider have you found to be best? Let us know in the comments below.

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How does YouTube TV Detect VPN

YouTube has branched out from its roots as a video hosting site to offer a new subscription-based live TV streaming service. With over 60 networks now on board, it’s worth taking a look at how to get the most out of your subscription fee, and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) may be the best way to get there.

What is a VPN?

A VPN operates by creating a virtual IP address that’s hosted on a server somewhere else in the world. An IP address is your gateway to the internet, as it will allow your device to be recognized by other devices connected through the Internet Protocol.

The virtual IP generated by the VPN is a great privacy tool. It prevents websites from obtaining your real IP by supplying the virtual IP in its place, which means your online activities cannot be traced.

In order to provide anonymity and variety to their users,VPN providers host servers all over the world. This is helpful when content on websites and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu isn’t available in your country because of the IP address. Using a VPN from another country tricks the site into thinking you’re in the country with the server, which means you can access whichever tv shows and movies are available from that location.

Services like YouTube TV that only offer certain channels and programs in certain areas become much more valuable when you can simply bypass the geographical restrictions. It is useful to learn more about YouTube TV VPN workarounds.

How YouTube Detects VPNs

Companies that operate in the video streaming industry aren’t ignorant of the fact that VPN technology can bypass the geographical restrictions that they have put in place, and with more VPN services popping up and rising to prominence every day, they’ve taken measures to make void the benefits VPNs afford their users.

With their users rightfully upset that the benefits they previously enjoyed suddenly being restricted, VPN providers responded by finding workarounds to these new obstacles.

The first step to finding a way around the added security measures is by understanding exactly how YouTube is catching VPNs in the first place. YouTube TV uses an algorithm that tracks all incoming IP addresses that are trying to access the site. They do this to track which programs are being watched, but also to catch VPNs.

This is effective because depending on the service you’re using, you may not be getting a dedicated IP address. A dedicated IP address is a virtual IP address that is unique to each individual using the service, not unique to each server.

If you’re not getting a dedicated IP address, catching the VPN becomes much easier. YouTube TV’s algorithm simply has to catch multiple accounts attempting to log in with an identical IP. Depending on how many people use the service, the algorithm may catch this very quickly, as the more accounts that attempt to connect, the quicker the algorithm can figure out that it’s fake.

Finding a Good VPN

When you’re shopping for your VPN provider, it’s important to keep this in mind. You’ll quickly become frustrated with the time it takes the provider to change the IP address each time it gets flagged. There are plenty of options for good and affordable VPN services that include dedicated IP addresses, which can significantly increase your chances of using it effectively.

It’s worth shopping around for the right VPN that works for your needs. With VPNs becoming more mainstream, there’s no end to your options, and the great promotional deals offered by some providers can make it a very good deal. With all of this in mind, start getting the most out of your YouTube TV subscription!

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How Safe is Omegle?

What is Omegle?

Omegle is an online chat service that allows people to communicate through text or video. With the tagline “Talk to Strangers”, the platform encourages users to seek out random individuals to chat with. Users must be at least 13 years old to create an account, and there’s a lengthy list of rules that must be obeyed in order to avoid an Omegle ban. These rules range from no abusive or threatening behavior to not being permitted to have any music playing in the background as this is a breach of copyright laws. Nudity and sexual content are also against Omegle’s terms of service, but there is an 18+ section of the site available. You can also type in your interests if you want to chat with people you have things in common with, or you can choose to talk to someone completely at random.

Benefits of Omegle

Omegle is a great way to encourage people to meet new friends and to share common interests and hobbies. It’s a completely free service, so you don’t even need a login — you can just open the site and start chatting away. Omegle’s terms of service seek to keep the chats clean and to mitigate against the risk of any illegal or inappropriate activity. With the aim of keeping users safe, engaging in conduct that is against the site’s rules may result in an Omegle ban that is linked to an IP address. The site also works hard to reduce bot or spam activity, with regular screening tests required in order to ensure the site is only being used by real people.

Drawbacks of Omegle

Some of the benefits of Omegle can also be considered drawbacks. Not needing a login means there is no way to identify the user, even by the admin, except for their IP address. Omegle uses a monitoring system in place of chats to ensure everyone is complying with their terms of service, but there is ample anecdotal evidence showing that serious breaches have gone undetected. Particularly disturbing cases can be found on the site Quora, where there are a myriad of questions from both adults and underage children confessing to have engaged in sexually explicit behavior on the platform and have not received a ban.

Banned on Omegle

Omegle bans are a hot topic among users of the service, so of course there is a wealth of online commentary around this topic. Avoidance of bans, ban durations, appealing bans, and most concerningly, how to skirt around Omegle’s systems to get your ban removed. Some users have a legitimate case they want to appeal, like a slow internet connection causing them to frequently drop in and out of chats which can be mistaken for a bot. Others, however, have blatantly broken the rules and been able to repeatedly offend thanks to one widely known loophole. Because Omegle bans users based on their IP address, all someone needs to do is use a different one, which can easily come in the form of a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This means that anyone can freely access the service and become immune to any potential Omegle bans.

So, Is Omegle Safe?

For many people, the ability for users to log in anonymously and avoid any potential repercussions for illicit behavior defines Omegle as an unsafe platform. While Omegle admins make an effort to create a safe environment, the reality is that these measures are insufficient in protecting vulnerable people like children and teenagers, as well as from inappropriate and even illegal behavior by other users.

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Reasons Why Users Are Banned From Omegle

Omegle’s moderation system is controlled by both human oversight and algorithms. Because of this, there are several different reasons why a user might be banned from Omegle. Users are more often blocked due to computer algorithms detecting inorganic traffic, but there are other important reasons why a ban could happen. Sometimes, bans on Omegle seem relatively random, so this topic is worth exploring.

An Algorithm Detects Spam-like Content

Algorithms can detect certain user patterns. If a user floods Omegle from multiple browsers using the same IP address, an algorithm could identify this behavior as spam. When a user repeatedly cancels chats, this can also alert the algorithm of spam-like content — perhaps the user is utilizing Omegle to advertise and is flooding new chats with identical messages. Repeatedly using profanity and offensive language can also result in an Omegle ban.

However, algorithms do not always correctly identify patterns. If an internet connection is weak, a user might automatically be dropped from a chat. Additionally, other users might continually drop the user in question from a chat. Neither of these situations might be the user’s intention, so in these cases, the algorithm could be at fault for a ban that is unjustified.

Other Reasons A User Can Be Banned

While Omegle offers a video chat option that is not regulated by humans, Omegle’s text section can be monitored by other users. So if a user is abusive or harassing in any way, another user can report them. However, Omegle staff does not have the ability to read the messages that were sent, so if you’re reported by another user, you will most likely receive a ban.

While abusive behavior is a clear reason for a ban, there are other seemingly harmless reasons that could trigger one. Playing music or watching television in the background of a video chat could potentially be a copyright infringement, unbeknownst to the user. In a situation like this, a ban on Omegle or any website could come completely unexpected.

Length of Bans and How They Work

There is no clear method for distinguishing the duration that an Omegle ban will be implemented. Generally, bans last anywhere from one week to four months. Omegle may even implement a permanent ban. The worst part is that there is no way to appeal a ban with Omegle.

Users do not register for Omegle’s services, so banning individuals is a different process than it may be on other sites. Omegle implements bans by identifying a user’s IP address and blocking it from accessing the site. That means that even if a user activates incognito mode, access to the site will still be denied.

An IP address identifies a user’s device numerically in the network it’s using. A site is able to register a user’s IP address within the network and block it from accessing its content. Some countries have completely banned Omegle within all networks, such as Saudi Arabia or China. Additionally, private networks, such as schools, may ban access to Omegle.

The system of blocking and banning, however, is not foolproof. IP addresses can easily be changed with the right software. VPNs connect users to different networks with different IP addresses, which enables continued access to Omegle.

Final Remarks

Getting banned on Omegle can happen unexpectedly for many users. The site receives a good amount of spam, so it needs a system that can algorithmically block it. But if Omegle’s algorithms detect spam-like behavior coming from a human, that user’s IP address will be banned. Using a VPN, however, can enable a user to avoid a ban or continue using the site if a ban has been issued.

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Stay Safe: Fake VPN Services Are Trying To Scam You

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 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.

MySafeVPN: The Fake VPN Service for PLEX

A fake VPN service targets you through your email. It knows that you have a subscription, paid or otherwise, to a popular online service. It pretends to be affiliated with this service that you have been using for years.

Think of it like this; you love and own Apple products for years. You suddenly get a legit looking email saying Apple is now offering a VPN service. You probably don’t recall the company making an official announcement but the email will look real. The only problem is, it’s a fake. This has already happened to Plex users.

Plex is an incredibly popular media server. If you own a Chromecast, chances are you use Plex. The email in question pretended to be a VPN services that Plex has launched. It offered a discounted rate to Plex users to reel them in. The email also included a ‘referral’ link for Plex users so they could avail the service.

It was a scam. The user who received the email posted it in Plex’s online forums where a company employee identified it as a scam. Vice did a feature on it, and the service in question has since disappeared. The bottom line is; this is happening.

RELATED READING: If you’d like to know which are the best VPNs for Plex – we have a section dedicated to that.

The Red Flags

The Plex team and MySafeVPN have both signed off on the email. It wasn’t your usual scam where a Nigerian prince tries to ship you some gold. 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.

You will have an email in your inbox and you will have to decide if this is legit or not. Here are a few red flags in the scam email.

No Official Announcement

Look for a link to an official product/service announcement in the email. In the above email, MySafeVPN does not link to an official product announcement from Plex. It is highly unlikely that a company, big or small, wouldn’t announce a new product on their blog. If Plex, or any other company for that matter, were to introduce a new service, they would announce it to get the current user base on board. A targeted email asking you to sign up for the service isn’t going to be the first you hear of it.

Companies that announce new products will begin marketing it months before the launch. They will write about it extensively, add banners to their official website, and maybe even push a little ad or two via their apps/service. If nothing else, there is at least going to be some activity on social media. If none of that preceded the email you received, it’s likely a scam.

Unrealistic Timeline

The US Congress decided it was okay for ISPs to sell your browsing Data on March 28, 2017. It is unrealistic that a company, regardless of its size, can get a robust VPN service up and running within weeks. It just doesn’t work like that. Technology makes a lot of things easier and faster but it still isn’t magic. If you’re getting email invites to a newly launched VPN service, a service that’s been around for just a few weeks, then be suspicious. Be very suspicious.

It’s times like this that you want to look at VPN services that have been around for a while. Not only are they more likely to be legitimate but they are also likely to provide better services.

No Real Product Offering

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.

Compare The Language

Online services send you emails every now and then. Sometimes they offer you coupons, sometimes they try and nudge you to upgrade your plan. If you receive an email telling you Netflix has just started a new VPN service, compare the language of the email with that of the previous ones. You will see a distinct difference. It’s also a good idea to compare the email layout. Scammers don’t have the best resources at their disposal. They don’t have time to replicate the look of an official email.

What’s The Risk

Money

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 turn, infect your system or just take it hostage.

Sensitive Data

A fake VPN service can be the age-old phishing 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.

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