Canadians Increasingly Targeted By Cybercriminals

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

Twenty-two per cent (22%) of respondents surveyed in the RBC poll said they’ve increasingly been victims of fraud attempts, as scammers and cybercriminals try to take advantage of Canadians spending more time and money online due to lockdown restrictions.

Forty-four per cent (44%) 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 (28%) said the scammers already knew some of their personal information before they were approached.

And 10% of respondents said they’ve been contacted about a fraudulent job offer or investment opportunity. Another 10% said they’ve gotten an email or text directing them to fake websites.

Additionally, 13% of poll respondents said they’ve been targeted by scammers trying to develop a relationship with them to eventually dupe them into giving them money. In 2020, these 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.

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