Consumers fear call-centre security lapses

British consumers are living in fear of security breaches in firms they deal with on a daily basis, a new survey suggests.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of the 2,000 people surveyed said they were worried that their details could either be lost or stolen by bank call centres or branches. Although banks were reckoned to be the most insecure, 40 per cent also feared security breaches at mobile phone firms and 37 per cent at retail outlets.

Call centres were universally seen by consumers as the weak point in the system, the most likely to be targeted by criminals. And, according to the survey from communications firm Avaya, it seems most people distrust the human element of call centres, worried that staff will siphon off their details.

Only 5 per cent said they are happy to share card details with a call centre worker. But, conversely, 51 per cent said they didn't like firms to use too many passwords and security failsafes.

"Contradictory attitudes leave businesses stuck between a rock and a hard place," said Simon Culmer, the managing director of Avaya. "But the research also suggests that people are becoming increasingly security savvy. Firms need to build back confidence in traditional transaction methods."

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