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

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Hirsch Creek Golf Course Volunteer, Augie Penner, talking about how he continues the tradition, set by Joe Atamchuck, to catch and release fry that keep spawning at the course. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
VIDEO: Kitimat golf course volunteers making moves for the fishlings

During the highwater season, salmon are known to lay their eggs in the ponds at the golf course

Ocean Wise’s cetacean photogrammetry research program uses aerial images collected by boat-launched drones to measure the body condition of whales. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal License MML-18 photo)
LNG Canada commits $750K to whale research, conservation initiative

Ocean Wise education team will work alongside educational and Indigenous leaders in the area

The Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre will be closed from June 28 until September 13 for annual facility maintenance as well as teach pool and decking repairs. (Black Press photo)
Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre closed: June 28 – September 13

The aquatic centre will be closed for annual facility maintenance

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

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth and Attorney General David Eby attend opening of the first government-run B.C. Cannabis Store, Kamloops, Oct. 19, 2018. (B.C. government)
B.C. government to allow home cannabis delivery starting July 15

Added convenience expected to persuade buyers to ‘go legal’

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read