Swimmer Brent Hayden speaks to reporters after training at the UBC Aquatic Centre in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, May 24, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Swimmer Brent Hayden speaks to reporters after training at the UBC Aquatic Centre in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, May 24, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Canada’s Tokyo hopefuls hit with credit card fraud on top of pandemic challenges

A number of Canadian athletes have discovered fake applications for a Walmart MasterCard were approved in their names

Brent Hayden didn’t need this on top of everything else.

The Canadian swimmer is among athletes trying to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics amid the COVID-19 pandemic while also dealing with credit card fraud.

A number of Canadian athletes have discovered fake applications for a Walmart MasterCard were approved in their names. They’re dealing with the time-consuming fallout.

“There are seven or eight Olympians that have had this,” Hayden told The Canadian Press.

“I think someone specifically decided to target Olympians. I don’t think it’s a vendetta against Olympians, but it’s ‘what’s a list of people we could do this to?’

“I don’t know if there was a data breach somewhere. The only information they seem to have are names and mailing addresses.”

Race walker Evan Dunfee of Richmond, B.C., and Calgary sport pistol shooter Lynda Kiejko confirmed they’ve dealt with the same credit card problems.

Dunfee cancelled a pair of cards that arrived at his parents’ house, with one already charged $500.

Kiejko was able to cancel charges and now has fraud alerts on her financial accounts.

“No idea who did it, or where they got my info,” she told The Canadian Press in a text.

As soon as Hayden cancelled one credit card, another one arrived in the mail as well as a statement from the first with $472 in charges.

The 37-year-old from Maple Ridge, B.C., won an Olympic bronze medal in the men’s 100-metre freestyle in 2012. He came out of retirement to compete in Tokyo.

Canada’s Tokyo hopefuls are pivoting and adapting on a daily basis to changing training and competition schedules because of the pandemic.

Canada’s swim trials initially scheduled for April were delayed to May, and again to June.

Time spent on the phone with corporations, police and credit monitoring companies feels draining to Hayden.

“Last week, it was way too much time,” Hayden said. “I was late to every single practice. I couldn’t get out the door on time because of this.

“We’re dealing with COVID and still trying to figure out how we can keep training. Every single week we’re constantly adapting schedules and making micro-changes.”

“Then you throw this on that, you’re like ‘what is going on?’”

Duo Bank, which administers the Walmart Mastercard, said credit card fraud is an industry problem.

“We have processes in place to identify accounts and close them immediately upon notification,” Duo Bank said in a statement.

“Victims of fraud like this are never responsible for purchases made with credit cards fraudulently opened in their name. In this case, we have been in touch with the customers.”

Hayden’s basic information gleaned from a list could have provided enough for scammers to apply for a credit card, said University of Calgary professor Tom Keenan, who authored the book “Technocreep: The Surrender of Privacy and the Capitalization of Intimacy.”

“Credit card companies are in the business of having you open credit cards, so they do their best to make it as easy as possible,” Keenan said.

“My speculation is there was a list and it got into the wrong hands. Somebody said ‘oh, these will be good people to scam.’

“To my mind, there was a list with just enough information on these athletes that you could take it and go get credit cards.”

Elite athletes tend to include their birthdays and hometowns in their online profiles, which can also assist scammers, he said.

Keeping your birthdate off-line is one way to thwart scammers, Keenan advised. Installing credit monitoring on accounts and being stingy with information while travelling overseas are others.

The Canadian Olympic Committee is aware that some Tokyo hopefuls are dealing with credit card chaos, and said its databases are secure.

“We were concerned to hear that Team Canada athletes may be being targeted for fraud,” COC chief executive officer Dave Shoemaker said in a statement.

“The COC has a robust (information technology) infrastructure in place and includes constant security monitoring.

“We will explore opportunities to provide cybersecurity awareness education for Team Canada members and stakeholders.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics

Just Posted

Grads at Riverside Park in Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof celebrates 2021 graduates

NVSS grads got together at Riverside Park on Friday, June 11 in… Continue reading

Singing and drumming was heard in downtown Vanderhoof on Monday, June 14. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Photos: Honour Walk held in Vanderhoof

An honour walk was held Monday June 14 in Vanderhoof, remembering the… Continue reading

Emergency crews responded to the scene of a suspicious fire at the southeast corner of the OK Café in Vanderhoof Friday, June 11. The historic building is 101-years-old. (BC RCMP photo)
OK Café in Vanderhoof alright after suspicious fire

Damage kept to a minimum by firefighters

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

Most Read