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

Councillor Doug Elford. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Elford to join Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society as a director

Fellow Safe Surrey Coalition Councillors Laurie Guerra, Mandeep Nagra and Allison Patton will be re-appointed to the board

(Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey council moves to reduce parking along rapid transit corridors

This also targets rental housing developments in Rapid Transit Areas

Big Splash water park is located in Tsawwassen. (submitted photo)
Big Splash reopens Canada Day with changes to keep the water park ‘safe for everyone’

Executive Hotels & Resorts has owned and operated the attraction since 2017

A cyclist stops traffic to allow a gaggle of geese cross the road. (Tino Fluckiger photo)
White Rock man asks motorists to be mindful of wildlife after close call

Impatient motorists drives into oncoming traffic

Elgin Park Secondary students rally for climate change outside of their South Surrey in 2019. (Nick Greenizan photo)
City of Surrey set to host online climate-action panel

June 23 Zoom event to include speakers, question-and-answer period

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

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Most Read