Survey: People losing faith in companies to protect their data

People are growing distrustful of companies’ ability to protect their information online, according to a new survey.

Data from Gallup released on Friday showed that 37 percent of the public said that their trust in companies that they regularly do businesses with has decreased over the past year. Only 10 percent said that it had increased.  

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At the same time, just 21 percent of those surveyed said that they had “a lot of trust” in companies’ ability to keep their information secure. The survey found that 47 percent had “some trust” in the companies, while 30 percent had “little trust” or “no trust at all.”

The analysis comes after months of major data breaches at companies including Target, Neiman Marcus and eBay, which have exposed millions of shoppers’ personal and financial data. Along with the discovery of the Heartbleed bug, which exposed a chink in the armor of many top Web companies, many consumers appear somewhat distrustful that businesses can keep their personal and financial details secure.

Social networking sites are the least reliable, people said.

According to the survey, just 2 percent of the public say they have a lot of trust in the sites. Meanwhile, 12 percent said the same thing about the federal government, 14 percent about retail stores and 26 percent said they trusted their health insurance company.

Consumers said that banks and credit card companies were the most trustworthy, with 39 percent saying they had a lot of trust in them.

“The results of this poll speak strongly to the opportunity available to the banking industry,” Gallup said.

“Banks can potentially capitalize on this opportunity by showing that their protection of personal information isn't just about legal ramifications.”