Headline News By Marie Sutherland 84 Views

Typo on government-issued travel registration letter directs callers to sex hotline

The Public Safety Department is apologizing for a clerical error on a government-issued letter that mistakenly directed callers to a phone-sex hotline.

The letter, sent out to residents of Listuguj and Pointe-à-la-Croix earlier this month, contained information about registering for frequent travel. 

It advised residents to call the government's travel registration line for further information and provided a phone number for them to use.

But several Listuguj residents who did so were astonished to be greeted by this recorded message, delivered in a come-hither female voice: "Welcome to America's Hottest Talkline! Guys, hot ladies are waiting to talk to you … Ladies, to talk to interesting and exciting guys free, press 2 now."

Hilary Barnaby, communications manager for Listuguj First Nation, said Thursday that she is aware of several residents who called the number.

Their reactions ranged from embarrassment to "just kind of laughing about it," she said. 

An embarrassing but understandable error, Listuguj says

"I understand how it could happen," Barnaby said. "They just transposed the [correct] 1-833 number with the wrong numbers. But unfortunately it kind of discredits the whole letter."

Coreen Enos, a communications officer with the Public Safety department, said the letter was sent to 140 residents of Listuguj and Pointe-à-la-Croix on Feb. 2.

She said the typo was "a clerical error that was not identified until after the letters were mailed out."

The department has sent new letters to these recipients explaining the error, with the correct phone number, Enos said.

"We regret the error and any confusion this has caused."

This is not the first time America's Hottest Talkline has had a misdirected caller windfall.

In 2017, several U.S. media outlets reported that a typo in the Federal Emergency Measures Association tweet directed Floridians seeking help for damaged roofs to the phone-sex line. 

Here in New Brunswick, Barnaby said the Public Safety Department apology is appreciated, and notes that the First Nation has been broadcasting the correct number to its residents throughout the pandemic.

The correct number, 1-833-948-2800,is also provided on the government's website.