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LarryDarrell

Downsides of VPN Usage

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LarryDarrell

For the past couple of years I was in the practice of using a VPN almost all the time, for all my devices, whether it was really necessary or not.  It was just a matter of habit.  Because I was coming in to various web sites from constantly varying IP addresses and many IPs that are flagged as VPN endpoints, I very often had to complete captchas and other extra steps in order to log in.  This is always an inconvenience.  

Recently I have found that financial service companies in particular are getting very suspicious about anybody who uses their sites with a VPN.  A few companies simply block VPN IPs using some kind of database service, or they block IPs from which they are getting abuse.  Even if you are a legitimate customer, using a shared IP with abusers doesn't help your appearance.

If you have a longstanding relationship with a company then using a VPN might only cause some minor inconvenience.  But I have found recently that it really works to your disadvantage when establishing a new account.  In one case my new account was abruptly canceled because the company thought I was suspicious.  I think that VPN usage was a significant factor.

I am now changing the way I do things and limiting VPN usage to public WiFi situations and when I really need to appear as if I am in another country.  But I am going to try and always hit financial web sites from IP addresses that are clean and not known VPN endpoints.  At home I use my ISP's IP address and use a separate browser with a proxy (Opera, Epic Privacy Browser, etc) when I want to obfuscate.

Before going out traveling or expatriating I think it is always best to set up new accounts for various things well in advance while you are still in your home country.  It can be much more difficult to do this after you leave.  If you must give the appearance of internet access from your home country, consider alternatives to normal VPNs such as a VPN service with a dedicated, fixed IP, or remote control of a computer back home.

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paulrob

I too have noticed some things when using a well established VPN provider. For example the UK BBC news website will sometimes redirect to BBC.com instead of BBC.co.uk even though I connect to a UK server, some news videos will  not play too.  Youtube also will default to the Germany or Romania servers.

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LarryDarrell

All kinds of things can happen with the way that the geographic location of a VPN IP address is reported.  I don't understand it well and I don't use VPNs for getting around media restrictions (except sometimes).  

Maybe a home country Virtual Private Server accessed by remote control might be a good way to always look like you are back home.  As long as the IP is fixed, not shared, and not flagged as being suspicious in any way.

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LarryDarrell

I'm on Opera proxy right now.  Even though I selected the option for the Americas, some IP geolocation sites say I am in France, and Google.com is serving up the Russian page.

No wonder that Financial companies think this is suspicious.

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hioctane

I have noticed that financial institutions do not like VPNs either. It is better to log in from Thailand (which I thought would be a red flag) than from a VPN appearing to be in your home country. These days, the only times I use VPN is for a public network. I will use a cellular connection over a VPN (for anything financial related).

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roger buttmore

A very timely thread and I'll be interested to read people's opinions.

I live in Thailand and for a long time I've only used free VPN services, albeit rarely or when I remembered, or could be bothered when downloading torrents. The other reason was to appear to be UK based in order to use my Dad's Sky Go details for a sporting event, but that only works on PC, not my Android TV box.

Yesterday, after some research, I decided to sign-up with NordVPN for two years @$3.99 per month.

I have numerous email accounts and, with VPN active, opened Thunderbird (email client) and promptly spent the next 30 minutes logging into each email account manually via a browser and verifying each account following  all the 'Microsoft account unusual sign-in activity' messages. What a pain.

Being a relative noob on the VPN usage front that's my first lesson learned. I will only switch it ON when I need it, such as for torrent downloads or for specific geographical purposes.

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forcebwithu

I use the Zenmate Chrome extension (free version). I only turn it on when I encounter sites that don't work when they see a Thailand IP address. All other times I leave it off as I don't really care if sites I visit see my true location and that includes torrent downloads and seeding.

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LarryDarrell

Another idea I have is to make a Raspberry Pi VPN server and place it on a trusted friend's home or business LAN.  I could also run VPN server software on someone's PC that is always turned on (if they would let me).  Or I could use the VPN server features of a friend's router (or buy them a new router with such features).  All of these would give me a way to securely tunnel back to my home country and use an IP address that is unchanging and free of suspicion. 

I get the feeling that the situation will only get worse for shared VPN solutions.  

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hioctane

Have you tried dedicated IP?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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LarryDarrell

People have told me that a cheap OpenWRT router with OpenVPN server capability is more reliable and easier to deal with than a Raspberry Pi.  I ordered one of these to play around with.  I'll also consider buying a new, OpenWRT router for a friend's house and set up VPN access for them in exchange for remote access to their network.

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Woofiee
On 29/09/2018 at 17:28, hioctane said:

Have you tried dedicated IP?

My question exactly. 

If you really want to look like a user in a given area, get a dedicated IP address that only you can use. Most VPN operate on a shared VPN system, and that'll set off alarms at some point. Dedicated IP is the way to go. 

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LarryDarrell

There have been a few things in the news recently about these "trustworthiness" evaluation services that are being used by more and more web sites.  Using a VPN always makes you suspicious.  Even things like using an email address ending in a bunch of numbers is bad.  I had one financial service company rep accuse me of using a "business email account" when that wasn't the case.  I decided to create a special email account just for signing up with companies like these.  I use <fullrealname>@<majorcommonemailprovider.com> 

I have tried the "dedicated IP" option from one of my VPN services and I think it helps a lot.  The only downside is that the "dedicated IP" may still be identified as being commercial rather than residential, and if it comes from an IP pool known to be associated with VPNs or similar services, it might still be flagged.  But it is a big improvement over coming out a known shared VPN endpoint.

I still think the best solution is to have a private VPN to a friend's home residential network, or have a remote-controllable PC on such a network.  This lets you completely masquerade as being a typical innocent home computer user back in your home country.   

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hioctane
There have been a few things in the news recently about these "trustworthiness" evaluation services that are being used by more and more web sites.  Using a VPN always makes you suspicious.  Even things like using an email address ending in a bunch of numbers is bad.  I had one financial service company rep accuse me of using a "business email account" when that wasn't the case.  I decided to create a special email account just for signing up with companies like these.  I use @ 
I have tried the "dedicated IP" option from one of my VPN services and I think it helps a lot.  The only downside is that the "dedicated IP" may still be identified as being commercial rather than residential, and if it comes from an IP pool known to be associated with VPNs or similar services, it might still be flagged.  But it is a big improvement over coming out a known shared VPN endpoint.
I still think the best solution is to have a private VPN to a friend's home residential network, or have a remote-controllable PC on such a network.  This lets you completely masquerade as being a typical innocent home computer user back in your home country.   


I have been wondering.. do financial institutions not want us to go over a VPN now when we are on a public wifi like a hotel wifi?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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ChiFlyer
Posted (edited)
On 26/09/2018 at 23:05, forcebwithu said:

I use the Zenmate Chrome extension (free version). I only turn it on when I encounter sites that don't work when they see a Thailand IP address. All other times I leave it off as I don't really care if sites I visit see my true location and that includes torrent downloads and seeding.

I do the same, but with Private Internet Access (PIA), which I pay about $30 USD a year for. The way Windows 10 is configured on my Lenovo Laptop, I have problems with Chrome so I use Firefox. Charles Schwab for one will deny access to a VPN connection. Sites that I do business with that deny an outside the US connection seem to be oblivious to the fact that they are being accessed by a spoofed US VPN connection. I called one of them up and asked why they denied outside of the US connections. I was told that "I must realize that we live in a dangerous world". My retort of "we always have" seemed to be unappreciated. Shit brains will be shit brains.

Edited by ChiFlyer

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pattayaplayer

I'm completely green on this stuff but I'm interested in being able to switch on specific country IP's for a couple things.  One is the watch football clips on the BBC or Sky that are only available to UK residents.  The other is to check various cruise company sites because cruise companies fuck you around with vastly different pricing in different countries for the same cabin.  I'm not interested in using another IP for any of my financial services.  I use my laptop, don't need to use a phone.  Any advice would be appreciated. 

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travelling_man
Posted (edited)

I know you have all mentioned using vpn on your computer, but I have also noticed a change when using Android with VPN.

Western Union APP 1) uses your location if turned on and that will get you kicked out fast; and 2) generates unknown commands which cause my VPN to disconnect, allowing Western Union APP to connect directly without going through the VPN tunnel.  I find that the APPS are much more in-tune with whether you are using VPN versus using a browser on your phone.

I also receive a lot of DDOS/Cloudflare checks and "Choose all the pictures with Crosswalks" picture checks when using VPN's.

I have a computer online 24/7 in the USA in the office, and access it by Teamviewer.  That is the only way I have been able to get around some of the VPN issues ... however, I can't stream like this, as it doesn't matter what internet connection I have, there just doesn't seem to be enough bandwidth, nor fast enough screen refresh.

 

 

Edited by travelling_man
spelling

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AsianMPLover

Hi,

I am a frequent user of public wifi and would never consider accessing without using VPN. The issues I have uncounted are Netflix and a few banks who don't like VPN IPs. For the latter, my bank only checked if it was a VPN provider in the same country. When I changed my VPN to another country I could suddenly connect again.

I also have a VPN connection to my home network as a back-up that I can use if all else fails. Had a friend help me install OpenVPN server on my home router, and it works quite well.

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thinkingallowed
On 26/09/2018 at 23:34, roger buttmore said:

A very timely thread and I'll be interested to read people's opinions.

I live in Thailand and for a long time I've only used free VPN services, albeit rarely or when I remembered, or could be bothered when downloading torrents. The other reason was to appear to be UK based in order to use my Dad's Sky Go details for a sporting event, but that only works on PC, not my Android TV box.

Yesterday, after some research, I decided to sign-up with NordVPN for two years @$3.99 per month.

I have numerous email accounts and, with VPN active, opened Thunderbird (email client) and promptly spent the next 30 minutes logging into each email account manually via a browser and verifying each account following  all the 'Microsoft account unusual sign-in activity' messages. What a pain.

Being a relative noob on the VPN usage front that's my first lesson learned. I will only switch it ON when I need it, such as for torrent downloads or for specific geographical purposes.

Yes, my experience also. Using a paid for VPN can be more work than “work arounds” which are free. 

Presently my O2 account from the UK has “lost it” and is allowing me access to live BBC sport, my Sky Go account etc from Norway. There’s a please update carrier settings thing several times per day but I’m ignoring that right now. 

Nord and Express were to I tried and got my money back no problem, so wouldn’t discourage others trying them too. 

Edited by thinkingallowed

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