A virtual private network (VPN) helps you stay private online with an encrypted connection between your device and the web. It hides your location and scrambles information, like your browsing history, so it’s unusable to ID thieves.

You give a VPN company permission to see the websites you visit and what you type, even confidential information, so it’s important to choose a VPN wisely. Before you choose a VPN:

  • Search online for a VPN’s name and any reviews or complaints.
  • Check ratings in app stores, like the Apple Store or Google Play.
  • Decide whether permissions the VPN requests are worth sharing.
  • Find out if the VPN encrypts your information.
  • Review the VPN’s terms, conditions, and privacy policy to see if your information is shared with other companies.
  • Make sure the VPN clears your internet and search history and cookies.
  • Choose a VPN with two-factor authentication, which makes it difficult for identity thieves to access your secure connection.

Visit consumer.ftc.gov and search for VPNs for more information. For comparisons, search pcmag.com or gartner.com for VPNs.