Beware Fake VPN Services

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

April 7, 2017

Reports that a fake Virtual Private Network (VPN) company is falsely claiming to be associated with Plex and targeting Plex users have set off alarm bells in the VPN industry.

Recent high-profile erosions of the privacy protections previously enjoyed by internet users have sparked intense interest in the use of VPNs as a way to protect privacy.

Unfortunately (if not very surprisingly), it appears that some unscrupulous individuals are exploiting the general public’s lack of knowledge about the VPN industry to sell them phony VPN services.

MySafeVPN is Fake

Plex is a popular media player system that allows you to upload files to a Plex server. You can then watch uploaded content from any device you own. Many Plex users have recently received an email purporting to be from a company called MySafeVPN, which claims to be an offshoot of Plex:

Plex media server has now released a new service called”

The email references the recent Congress decision (now ratified by President Trump) to allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to harvest and sell US customers’ web browsing data, plus the UK’s terrible new government surveillance laws.

It plays on the real alarm these developments have caused to slyly suggest that files uploaded to Plex Media Servers (many of which likely breach copyright laws) may now no longer be private:

However, with the recent change in US privacy bills, UK privacy laws and more, it is now more difficult to fill these media servers with the content that users want to enjoy.”


Thing is, Plex has never heard of MySafeVPN. As Plex employee kiniCharlimno notes,

This is not us! We were also taken by surprise as many Plex employees received the same email, myself included. We’re seeing very similar emails going out from the same outfit to former Boxee users as well. We are investigating and reporting them to their service and mail providers, but believe this could be related to the 2015 forums breach.”

This statement was confirmed to Motherboard by Scott Olechowski, Plex’s co-founder and Chief Product Officer:

This is *absolutely not* a Plex affiliated service or offering. If anything, it suggests that is super sketchy and we would recommend using almost any other VPN service with your Plex Media Server.”

Plex also denies claims made by MySafeVPN that it is staffed by disgruntled ex-Plex employees.

Users of the now default rival service to Plex, Boxee, have also been targeted. One poster to Plex discussion boards reports falling for the scam, and paid $24.99 via PayPal for a three-month subscription.

Unsurprisingly, he discovered that the service itself was sham, and simply did not work. I am pleased to report that he received a full refund from PayPal.

Be Careful of Fake VPN Services

As we at have seen first-hand, there has been a surge of interest in VPNs following recent developments, which have rightly alarmed internet users everywhere.

Many of those showing new interest in the subject have likely never even heard the term “VPN” before, and certainly have very little understanding of how to tell a good VPN from a bad one (or even worse, a scam one!).

In addition to outright fake VPNs such as MySafeVPN, there are many cowboy VPN companies out there. These are keen to exploit the booming interest in VPNs. Many of them are poorly configured, so they leak users’ real IP addresses, others contain malware, and others don’t even bother to encrypt users’ data!

This slap-dash behavior is all the more shocking because people who use these VPN apps do so in the belief that they will improve their online privacy and security!

We therefore strongly recommend that anyone interested in purchasing a VPN to improve their privacy only choose trusted providers recommended by reputable sources, such as (of course!).

Imnage credit: By karen roach/
Douglas Crawford

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

8 responses to “Beware Fake VPN Services

  1. I have had expressVPN for 1yr now! (ONLY because I signed up for the 1 yr plan) I was mostly using ONLY the DNS servers to stream, but when that quit working I was forced to purchase a new router (which they recommended, and advertised on their website) so I could use their VPN service… my speeds went down EXTREMELY LOW!!!! Sometimes by as much as a 90% loss!!!! I constantly argue and fight back and forth with them, only to get BS excuses in return! I do NOT feel they should be legally allowed to advertise as they do!!!! STAY AWAY!!!!

    1. Hi Joe,

      Why would you be forced to buy a router? I’ll also note that ExpresVPN only offers high-end routers, so I don’t understand why you should have experienced such a big speed loss.

  2. Funny little story: I got the email from them the same day as everyone else. I already subscribe to multiple vpn services, but I clicked the link to see what it was about. I use the HTTPS everywhere extension in my browsers, and I was shocked to see that I could not make an HTTPS connection to their website.

    I clicked on their contact link and cussed them out, saying that if they wanted anyone who knew anything about VPNs to even remotely take them seriously, they need to at least accept https connections on their website.

    I got a scam vibe from them. Glad to know I was right.

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