Expats and digital nomads have unique challenges when it comes to staying connected and keeping their personal information safe online. When you live in a different country, it’s more difficult to access services like local news, bank accounts, or government websites. It can also be more challenging to meet new people and make friends. However, the internet has made it much easier for expats to continue living as if they were still at home. T
hanks to social media and other online services, expats can keep in touch with friends and family back home. At the same time, they can also make new connections abroad. Unfortunately, this ease of access also comes with some disadvantages. Expats become vulnerable to hackers, identity thieves, and cyber-criminals who target foreigners precisely because they tend to trust individuals they meet online without verification of identity documents.
So, here’s what you need to know on VPN for expats. Stay safe and stay connected!
What is a VPN?
A Virtual Private Networ (VPN) is a software program that allows you to connect your computer to a server run by a VPN service. Once you’re connected to a VPN server, your computer “thinks” it’s on the same network as the server. For example, if you log into your work network while connected to a VPN, you might see a different IP address (a unique identifier for your computer) than if you log into the same network directly. The VPN server can be located in a different country from you. It can also route your internet traffic through that server. This means that anyone monitoring your internet connection will see the VPN server’s IP address, not yours.
Why you should use a VPN while living abroad
If you’re like most expats, you’re probably searching for a reliable internet connection . You’d want it to be fast enough to stream content and secure enough to protect your data and identity. Using a VPN while abroad is one of the most effective ways to remain safe and secure online while accessing content in your home country. While almost all countries have laws against online piracy or copyright infringement, some countries are less tolerant of these violations than others.
For example, the United States Copyright Office currently recommends fines of up to $150,000 for downloading copyrighted materials unlawfully. In China, downloading copyrighted material can result in up to 10 years in prison.
Are you traveling abroad and accessing content from your home country regularly? Well, it makes it very easy for your identity to be compromised. A VPN keeps your identity hidden from law enforcement agencies and ISPs who may be monitoring traffic for copyright infringement. VPNs also reroute your traffic through a secure server. Thus, adding an extra layer of protection if anyone attempts to access your data.
Using a VPN to access news and information online
As an expat, you may also want to access news and information websites in your home country to stay updated. Perhaps you want to know about the election cycle or to learn more about current events.
Unfortunately, many websites block content based on your IP address. This is especially common among websites that provide public information like government sites. Government websites often block IP addresses from other countries. This is because they don’t want those outside the country viewing or accessing information.
For exampl, try to log into the US Social Security Administration website. You’ll see the following message: “You are not authorised to view this page.”
VPNs use rerouting technology to “spoof” your IP address. It tricks the government website into thinking that you’re located in your home country. So, even if the government website currently blocks access from outside the country, you’ll be able to log in and access the information you’re after.
Using a VPN while banking and paying bills online
Banks and other financial institutions routinely conduct fraud detection on their customers’ accounts. They do this by requesting copies of identity documents, such as a driver’s licence or passport.
If you’re currently living abroad, it’s more difficult to get the originals of these documents scanned and sent to your financial institution to validate your identity. Generally, this is because you’re not currently living in your home country. This can make it challenging to log into bank accounts or pay bills online — especially if you’re using an international bank that doesn’t have branches in the country where you’re currently living.
When you use a VPN to log in to your bank account, your financial institution won’t be able to detect that you’re logged in from another country. Instead, they’ll believe that you’re physically logged in at a branch somewhere in your home country. This can help keep your identity secure while you’re abroad. It can also reduce the number of times you have to provide your original identity documents to banks or financial institutions.
Using a VPN to communicate with friends and family
Keeping in touch with loved ones back home can be challenging when you’re living abroad. Many services, such as Google Voice, charge higher rates for calls to international numbers (or block international calls entirely).
When living in a different country, you don’t want to encounter internet connections that aren’t fast enough to support video calls. By connecting to a VPN server in your home country, you can make and receive calls using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Skype or Google Hangouts. This can help you stay in touch with friends and family back home without paying exorbitant fees or experiencing poor connections.
While many people use VPNs to protect their information while they’re online, some VPNs collect data about your browsing habits and log your user data. This can leave you vulnerable to hackers who could access your data and steal your identity. When choosing a VPN for privacy and security, it’s important to choose a VPN that keeps your data safe and doesn’t track or collect your browsing history.
Final Words on VPN for Expats
VPNs offer expats a number of benefits. For example, easier access to communication and information websites, banking and payment systems, and news and information websites in other countries. VPNs also offer privacy benefits, keeping your data safe from hackers and identity thieves. It does that by rerouting your traffic through a secure server in another country.
In short, you can safely say that VPNs can be very helpful. However, keep in mind that the best way to keep your information safe online is to practice safe browsing habits. So, to protect your data and identity, don’t use VPN to replace proper digital hygiene.
Anyway, make sure you are always connected with a fully charged device. This trendy wireless charging pad allows you to charge multiple devices at once. It’s a must have product for all digital nomads and remote workers alike!