Employee Engagement

More than two in three consumers (69 per cent) not trust businesses to keep their personal details confidential, it has been revealed.

This is according to a new study by business facilities provider Direct365 – highlighting a general wariness about companies holding on to sensitive information.

Age is a big factor, as the findings showed that older people tend to be more sceptical about businesses’ data security measures. Indeed, 82% of the over-65s who took part in the poll said they didn’t trust firms with their details.

At the other end of the scale, the 18 to 24-year-old group were the most trusting, with 47% saying that they weren’t worried about companies keeping hold of their information.

Despite this, the research indicated that more than one in three people (37%) don’t even shred their own documents when they are done with them, leaving them wide open to identity theft.

Young people are most guilty of this, with 49% of 18 to 24-year-olds admitting that they don’t dispose of their personal documents properly.

Speaking on the issue, Phil Turner, Head of Digital at Direct365, commented:

These figures show that most people are still worried about giving their sensitive information to companies. It’s down to businesses to demonstrate that they take data protection extremely seriously, and it’s vital that they reassure customers about their security policies and procedures.

“Perhaps the most worrying thing, however, is that so many people – particularly youngsters – don’t even safeguard themselves against potential data theft. Around half of the 18 to 24-year-olds that we spoke to freely admitted that they don’t shred documents like credit card statements and bills. This is asking for trouble.”

The numbers do not read well for young adults, as the amount of victims of fraud and identity theft continues to rise. Recent studies by fraud prevention experts Cifas showed that young people are consistently being targeted by criminals, with a 52% rise in victims under the age of 30 between 2010 and 2015.

In light of the recent Brexit decision, there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding data protection legislation, as it’s unclear how the UK will fare if it is not obliged to adopt Europe’s General Data Protection Regulations. These are supposed to take effect across EU states in May 2018, by which point the UK may have left the union.

MD of consultancy-led security company Identity Methods, Ian Collard pointed out that the current Data Protection Act of 1998 was drawn up at a time pre-dating the widespread use of smartphones, social media and online banking. As such, it may no longer be fit for purpose.

“17 years ago less than 1% of Europeans used the internet. Today, vast amounts of personal data are transferred and exchanged across continents and around the globe in fractions of seconds. Suggesting that we adopt the old Act as our fallback position is akin to using veteran car laws to control modern motorway traffic.” he commented.

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