Half of British Columbians Are Worried About Data Breaches

More than four-in-five of the province’s residents are comfortable accessing banking information and shopping online.

Vancouver, BC [June 3, 2022] – While a sizeable majority of British Columbians are at ease managing specific tasks online, more than half express concerns about where their data could end up, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 51% of British Columbians say they have worried “frequently” or “occasionally” over the past couple of months about having their personal information stolen over the Internet, down two points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in May 2021.

Similar proportions of British Columbians have worried “frequently” or “occasionally” about computers and technology being used to invade their privacy (51%, -1) and somebody hacking into their own computer or smartphone (46%, -3).

“In British Columbia, women (55%) are particularly concerned about their personal information falling into the wrong hands when they are online,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Fewer men (46%) share the same preoccupation.”

As was the case in 2021, more than four-in-five British Columbians are “very” or “moderately” comfortable shopping (89%, +2) and accessing banking information (87%, =) online. The level of comfort is lower across the province for making charitable donations online (73%, =) or commenting on an online forum that requires an email address (56%, +2).

Some British Columbians continue to encounter setbacks when relying on digital tools. More than three-in-five (63%, +2) have received “phishing” emails—where somebody attempts to acquire personal information by masquerading as a trustworthy entity—and a majority (58%, +4) received an email offering them money for their help and assistance, in what is usually referred to as the “Nigerian scam.”

Fewer than a third of the province’s residents reveal that their computer became infected with a virus while they were browsing the Internet (31%, =) or endured hackers accessing their social media platform (16%, +1) or email address (15%, =).

More than seven-in-ten British Columbians are partaking on five activities online at least a few times per month: visiting websites or blogs (89%, +2), accessing banking information (87%, -1), looking for deals on websites (81%, +2), using an instant messaging service (79%, +2) and looking for directions and/or maps to get to a destination (73%, +4),

Fewer British Columbians are purchasing goods from a website (60%, =), posting on social media (57%, -2), uploading pictures or videos to the Internet (53%, +3) or using the Internet to place telephone calls (39%, -2) at least a few times per month.

More than three-in-five British Columbians (62%, =) have googled themselves to see what has been posted about them online.

Among the province’s residents who typed their names on Google, 61% (+6) state that the information that came up was “accurate”, while 12% (-1) considered it “inaccurate”. More than a quarter of these residents (27%, -5) did not find information about themselves online.

Just over one-in-five British Columbians (22%) report having only one email address, while 41% possess two and 37% have three or more.

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from April 25 to April 27, 2022, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca