MANCHESTER, UK. – 16 November, 2023: More than half of Brits (53%) say they are worried about hackers stealing the sensitive information they give to businesses, and more than one in three (37%) are concerned about company employees stealing their personal data, research from Shred-it® UK, a leading secure information destruction service by Stericycle Inc, has revealed.
As brands insist on people sharing more and more of their personal data to secure better prices, deals and offers, people are worried that skilled criminals and opportunistic thieves may get hold of their sensitive data.
Actor, Will Mellor, who had his identity stolen in 2022, is partnering with Shred-it to highlight the need for businesses to take physical data protection more seriously by having safeguards in place when handling, storing and disposing of personal and sensitive information.
Will Mellor said: “For me, it was people rifling through my post and using my identity to open fake bank accounts. It was a complete nightmare and caused no end of trouble so I completely understand why a majority of people are worried that their personal information could get stolen – especially when it’s being held by a business, and we have no control over how it is stored or destroyed.”
A survey of 2,000 UK consumers polled for Shred-it shows that Will is not alone. Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents have had their personal information compromised. The survey also revealed that being the victim in such a situation can be hugely inconvenient, with 38% of respondents not knowing what to do if their personal information was leaked – rising to 46% of respondents aged 55 and above.
Whether it’s signing a contract for a new mobile phone, completing a bank slip or jotting down customer details while at work, companies need to handle, store and dispose of sensitive information correctly.
Results of the survey also showed that nearly a third of respondents (31%) lack faith in companies protecting their personal data, with 76% adding that companies should securely shred and recycle sensitive data and information when it is no longer needed. Respondents said that if companies fail to protect personal data, they should face fines, police investigations, pay compensation or receive jail time.
However, we do not always help ourselves when it comes to data security. In the survey, 25% of respondents never shred documents containing personal information and 27% admitted to never checking if they were using the same password for multiple accounts.
“People are saying in the Shred-it survey that data breaches should be taken more seriously,” commented Will Mellor. As much as we all need to be careful with our own data security, like checking bank balances regularly and changing passwords, businesses should also have processes in place to help stop confidential information getting into the wrong hands. Putting a paper file in an office recycling bin where anyone can see the data on it, just won’t cut it.”
About Shred-it: Shred-it is a Stericycle solution that helps organisations maintain the security and integrity of private and confidential information through document shredding and recycling, hard drive destruction and workplace privacy policies. For more information, please visit: www.shredit.co.uk
About the survey: The research for Shred-it was carried out online by Opinion Matters between 17 August, 2023 and 21 August, 2023 among a panel of 2,000 British consumers. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2019) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Opinion Matters is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act (2018).