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It's easy to become complacent when it comes to your credit and debit card details. We've all had occasions where we've told friends or family members our full set of digits – complete with the three-digit code – often in a public place, and many people are happy to hand over details by phone, too. Perhaps it's because we're just too trusting, but research from secure payment specialists Eckoh is warning people to be on their guard.
The attitude many people have when it comes to this matter is surprising, particularly given that they're often concerned about the amount of data held by large companies and the potential for data breaches. Realistically, our own complacency means we could actually be the ones instigating data breaches, with the research finding that many people are cavalier when it comes to sharing their details.
For example, the survey found that more than a third of respondents had heard friends or colleagues giving out their full credit card details while on the phone within the last six months, and a further 21% had been privy to such information within the last year. The office was the most common place for financial details to be overheard (54%), but a fifth had also heard such details on public transport, while 9% had heard them in cafes and restaurants and a further 7% heard them in the street.
While this may appear innocent, particularly with people trusting their friends and colleagues to not take advantage of their details, the same can't be said for strangers who may be listening in. This is particularly the case if you're divulging information over the phone or to call centre staff: 68% of consumers polled said that they had read out their card details over the telephone within the last year, without checking the security of the line.
This could have severe consequences, particularly with Eckoh estimating that four in five retailers and call centres who take payment by phone do so in an unsecured way, which could expose you and your details to potential fraud.
Tony Porter, head of Global Communications at Eckoh, commented: "We rightly expect companies to be protective with our personal data, but there are precautions that we could also take in our day-to-day lives to ensure that our information doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
"It's easy to forget the significance of the data you share over the telephone. In some cases, that information isn't only being shared by the person on the other end of the phone, but with anyone who happens to be within earshot. Caution is always to be advised when it comes to handling data."
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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