Panama is changing. Fast. And keeping up with the pace of growth that comes with it means changing the way we do things at home and at work. As businesses and the retail industry are transformed, buying online is now the new norm. But is it safe? Can we trust shops we cannot see and products we cannot touch? And, most importantly, are we willing to risk handing over credit card and personal information to some webshop? With e-commerce’s rapid rise, it’s no wonder that fraud and security breaches are at an all-time high. Here are five tips to make your online shopping a lot safer -- and more fun as a result!
Phone vs. Desktop
The number of smartphone users in Panama has soared in the past few years. However, we should all be extra careful when shopping online via a mobile phone. Phones don’t have the same security software as desktops, increasing exposure to viruses and hackers. And, don’t forget just how easy it is to lose your phone -- or even just misplace it temporarily. If your payment and security passwords are saved on your phone, it’s no big feat for someone to then use that information to make their online purchases. Use extra secure passwords to guard confidential information saved on your devices, or use a tool like 1Password, which remembers your passwords for you.
Use VPN at public hotspots
Connecting to a WiFi on a public Hotspot does nothing to guarantee the security of your data. Instead, either log-in through VPN (virtual private network), or avoid entering personal info and billing data altogether when you’re on a Hotspot. VPN is designed to provide a safe connection within a less secure network. Without VPN, hackers can easily access your data or even see what you are doing (now that’s scary, right?). Try to avoid entering passwords and other important information when using a public Hotspot without VPN because someone might very well be analyzing your browsing -- and watching you as you enter your passwords.
Safety in Credit Cards
Safety in Credit CardsAccording to Central America Data, Latin America has seen a 33% growth in debit card users over the last five years. Because credit cards have an extra layer of protection against fraud, we’d always recommend using a credit card instead of a debit card for online purchases. You can also withhold payment if there is any issue with your order or product until the company resolves the issue.
Beware of Opening E-mail Links
Scammers love tricking you into doing something via emails. They snatch your personal information and lure you to a fake website. See just how easy it is to trick you with a supposedly legit-looking website:
When you get an email dangling a tempting offer in front of your eyes, do your research first to make sure you can
trust it. Then, always make sure to copy and paste the link into the URL instead of directly clicking on the link.
Avoid Visiting Unsecure Websites
Don’t forget to check the URL when shopping online. URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator and is used to specify addresses on the World Wide Web.
For example, check out the URL where you’re reading this blog now:
HTTP stands for ‘’Hyper Text Transfer Protocol’’. The HTTPS is the secure version and that’s why there is an S added. This “S” means that the website uses a Secure Sockets Layer, which makes sure that only the intended recipient can see it.
You probably always want to see “HTTPS” instead of HTTP; especially when you’re shopping -- it’s a simple and easy way of checking if the information sent to you is secure.
So there you have it! Five simple and absolutely essential tips to help you avoid some nasty surprises when shopping online in Panama. As a buyer, you should always have your guard up. But if you follow these simple steps, you’ll be on your way to safer shopping! Now that’s a relief.