This post was most recently updated on September 21st, 2020.Reading Time: 7 minutes.
This article describes another fishy online offering, Spotify Premium Lifetime subscription. Long story short, it’s a scam, just not a very heinous one. Depending on the calibration of your moral compass, it might even be worth it, although definitely not recommended.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on with this criminal affair, then!
A while back, I wrote an article about cybercriminals stealing your money and your data, if you buy an “Office 365 Lifetime subscription”. Just for the record: it’s not a thing – it’s a scam.
The site selling the subscriptions went offline a few months after the original post, returned a while later, and is off the internet again. And that’s not surprising – the way the most benign version of the scam works can only keep the ship afloat for some 6-12 months, even assuming a reasonable growth rate. The scam just isn’t financially feasible for a time longer than that!
My original post is linked down below, if you’re interested:
Now, I’ve gotten a couple of questions about Spotify Premium lifetime subscriptions, and whether they’re a scam or not. Let’s see.
Well, everyone’s favorite scientologist said it. Yes, Lifetime Spotify Premium subscriptions are scams.
But let’s not take Tom’s word for it. Let’s take a closer look!
At least this time we’re not talking about a lot of money – a typical item on eBay costs somewhere in the vicinity of 5 to 20 USD, so you’re not losing much money.
A closer look at the anatomy of a Spotify Premium scam
Ah, what better way to investigate than to take a look at some real-world examples!
There’s an abundance of these “Lifetime Spotify Premium” offers out there, but they’re especially numerous on eBay. They often look somewhat like this:
Now, the seller I chose to investigate looks like this:
Oh, that’s a stellar rating – and what a spotless record!
Other sellers look pretty much identical. Let’s take a closer look at this account’s offering.
The product looks really good, too.
So.. Obviously I bought it. Yeah, I’m the guy who goes to buy Spotify Premium on eBay. You found me.
In my defense, I did it for science.
Worrying next steps
So what happens after the money has left your Paypal-account?
Quite quickly, the seller asked for my username and password, because of course they did! For a scam like this, they need the credentials, and they can obviously use all the information they gather in other scams as well.
This should be a major red flag and enough reason to cancel, ask for refund, rate the seller poorly and report them to eBay.
It’s a throwaway account, so it didn’t have any personal information, and it had an unique password, so handing away my password was – in this rare case – quite safe. And it didn’t take long, until…
Yikes! I’m located in Finland, so this was quite clearly not me. I doubt the actual scammer is actually located in the US either, but just using a VPN and bundling different “families” on Spotify.
What do I mean by that? Well, this appeared on my account:
So.. Yeah, I was added to a Premium family and relocated to United States. And lo and behold! I now had a functional Spotify Premium (even if it’s through my “family” in the United States).
Well, so we know it’s not an actual Spotify Premium. It’s a shared, family subscription. But is it worth the price?
Is Spotify Premium Lifetime subscription worth it?
In my previous post about these “lifetime something” scams, it was extremely simple to say with 100% confidence, that Microsoft Office 365 Lifetime subscription is not worth touching with a 10-foot pole. However, this time around it’s not as clear cut, since the stakes are far lower.
The simple stuff first:
Your “lifetime” subscription is likely going to be roughly 2 months long, and only in exceptional cases might last up to 12 months.
Why? Well, it’s simple. Since the scammers are likely paying for the primary premium account, and they can’t add infinite “family members” to piggyback on that one account, they’ll need to limit the length of the family membership to as short as possible to maximize their profit.
On eBay, you have 30 days to open a dispute after your order has been received, and for digital goods they’re generally speaking calculated as immediately received.
All of the eBay (et. al.) accounts they’re using are either short-lived throwaway accounts, with only a few months of history and no negative feedback, or recycled inactive accounts with good history – accounts that quickly became active selling each other a lot of “Lifetime Spotify subscriptions”.
What do I mean by the last part? Well, the seller accounts leave feedback to their other accounts also selling Spotify – just look at my seller:
The seller accounts’ rating is artificially inflated by the whole mesh of interconnected accounts patting each others’ backs – before selling to real customers even begins!
Okay, so it’s clearly a scam, but is it worth it to you?
Since Spotify Premium costs about $10/month, 2 months are worth some $20. If you can get the item for less than that, you are kind of getting some value out of the deal.
If you’re fine with that slightly fishy investment, go for it! But do read the caveats below…
Caveats with the offering
In addition to the obvious issues – you’re breaching the Spotify EULA, and giving criminals access to your account – there’s a couple of additional considerations.
"I accidentally fell for the Spotify Premium Lifetime subscription scam - what do I do now?"
Note the following steps:
Time needed: 30 minutes.
How to safely get criminal with Spotify?
- Remove your personal details before giving anyone access to your account
Remove any credit cards, real names, real birth dates – you don’t want to give any shady people information like that – it’s connected to your email and can be used to identify you or crack your accounts on other sites, after all!
- Change your password for the process
You don’t want to let anyone know your real password. Change it to “Password1” or something (unless it was unique to begin with) before sending it to criminals.
After reacquiring access to your account, change it again.
- If you sent someone your actual password, change your passwords everywhere!
If you somehow ended up sending someone your actual password before, go change your password everywhere before you get owned.
- Verify and prune the apps that have access to your account afterwards!
Criminals might have added new apps to retain access to your account. You’ll want to get rid of those.
You can find the app management from here:
This is what my actual Spotify account looks like. You should only see apps that you recognize and remember adding yourself there.
That’s it, I suppose. That’s all for now. Don’t buy counterfeit stuff, but if you do, do it safely.
It’s most likely not a good idea to buy a Spotify Premium lifetime subscription. While it’s not a very dangerous scam, it’s a scam nonetheless.
And after a couple of months (after you can’t complain anymore), this is what’ll happen:
And that’s the end of your Spotify Premium – hope you didn’t pay more than it’s worth.
I reached out to Spotify on Twitter to get their comments on the case, supplying them with some of the info I gathered for this article and asking them what’s their stance on the matter. While they did thank me for the information and forwarded my questions to “an appropriate team”, whatever that might mean, I haven’t heard back from them since.
This is partially my guesswork, but since “fake Premium families” are against Spotify’s EULA, there’s no guarantee you’ll keep your Premium (or even your account!) even for the duration of the buyer’s protection (~2 months).
Then again, it doesn’t sound like Spotify has much interest in the matter.
Have you purchased a Spotify Premium lifetime subscription? If so, let me know your experiences in the comments section below!
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