Nearly one quarter of all Canadians said they’ve been targeted by fraudsters more frequently since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a new Royal Bank of Canada survey.

Twenty-two per cent of respondents surveyed in an RBC poll released Monday said they’ve increasingly been victims of fraud attempts, as scammers and cyber criminals try to take advantage of Canadians spending more time and money online due to lockdown restrictions.

Forty-four per cent of people polled said they’ve been contacted by someone pretending to be a reputable source, such as a bank or a government official, asking them for personal information. Twenty-eight per cent said the scammers already knew some of their personal information before they were approached.

Ten per cent of respondents said they’ve been contacted about a fraudulent job offer or investment opportunity. Another 10 per cent said they’ve gotten an email or text directing them to fake websites, the poll found.

Thirteen per cent of poll respondents said they’ve been targeted by scammers trying to develop a relationship with them in order to eventually dupe them into giving them money. In 2020, so-called “romance scams” became the top fraud affecting Canadians on a dollar loss basis according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, costing people $18.5 million in 2020.

The RBC survey was carried out online among a representative sample of 1,501 Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.