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You’re a single woman on your first date with a new guy. The conversation is flowing, he’s laughing at your jokes – but you don’t feel comfortable sharing your full name yet or revealing exactly where you live.

Yet you may have readily shared personal information in an online form or in an email, with a cyberspace entity you don’t know.

A new survey, commissioned by Echoworx and conducted by market research company OnePoll, found that while most people won’t reveal personal details to a potential partner until after an average of two and a half dates, they are much more willing to provide sensitive information online. The study, conducted in August 2017, surveyed 2,000 adults from across the United States.

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Does this surprise you to learn many people are more willing to provide personal details online than with someone they are getting to know?

If you’re like most of the Americans in the survey, you take just 20 seconds to decide whether an email in your inbox is safe. You take 28 seconds to determine if it’s safe to enter your personal data into an online form. If an item on an online shopping site catches your interest, you take 31 seconds to decide whether the website is safe to make a credit card purchase from. Yet you likely won’t give your home address to a potential dating partner until after an average of four dates and you won’t discuss your salary until after six and a half dates. You might be among the one in three who doesn’t feel comfortable talking about your pay cheque after any amount of dates.

Have you shared sensitive or personal data while filling out an online form or in an email?
You’re not alone. Three-quarters of survey respondents admitted they have shared personal info while filling in an online form and on average they share three pieces of personal information by email each week.

You may have been sent information online to a healthcare provider, to a bank or a government official. But if you’re like most people, you say an online shopping purchase – perhaps those fabulous Manolo Blahniks - was the main reason you shared your data online. Other reasons include applying for a job or applying for a mortgage or insurance.

If you have shared your info online, you may have questioned how safe it was. Thirty per cent of the survey respondents feel uneasy about giving out information online. Have you sent an email you later regretted sending? So have 40 per cent of those surveyed.

You may have had your personal information stolen (24 per cent say so) or suspect it has been (22 per cent) or had your computer hacked, like one in five Americans. You may not know what encryption means, even though it’s a powerful tool for protecting your sensitive data.

Now back to that first date. If the romance continues, you’ll share your address, birth date, medical history and other personal details with this potential partner but you’ll be cautious and take your time.

When it comes to info such as your social security number and banking details, maybe it’s best to exercise the same caution before divulging your data online.

Before you leave, make sure to visit our Getting Personal portal to learn more about the risks and opportunities associated with sharing sensitive information.