Canada's anti-fraud line receiving more calls than it can handle

A Whitehorse man is frustrated he can't get through to the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre’s national hotline to report an attempted scam. A spokesperson for the hotline says there are more calls coming in than the centre can handle.

Whitehorse man is frustrated he can't get through to report a scam

Canadians are being told to watch out for a new phone scam which uses audio recordings to dupe unwitting consumers out of cash. (Shutterstock/Gajus)

"We are sorry, but all of our lines are presently busy."

That's the message that Whitehorse's Ron Leduc heard when he tried calling the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre's (CAFC) national hotline, which has been having difficulty dealing with a major volume of calls from across the country.

On Monday, Leduc received a phone call from a man telling him he had won $9.5 million dollars and a car. All Leduc needed to do was pay a one per cent tax.

Smelling a fraud, Leduc called the CAFC's hotline. However, the attempt went nowhere.

"They said, due to calls that were coming in and that there were too many of them, please try again later on," Leduc said. "So you keep trying, trying and trying till you get on. That might take days."

CBC tried calling the hotline as well — twice — and got the same automated message, which suggests callers should fill out a report online before hanging up.

Leduc, who is 68, says filling out an online report is not an option for him.

"I'm not that great with a computer," he admitted.

Officials at the CAFC say Leduc's experience is not uncommon.

"Essentially we are receiving more calls they we can handle." said Jeff Thompson, an intelligence analyst at CAFC.

"There is a lot of fraud going on, and a lot of people trying to reach us, so there are times when our phone lines are full and when you call you are going to get a polite disconnect."

Ultimately, Thompson explains, if you can't through the phone line and are unable to access the website, there is one more option.

"If you have questions or the fraud is on-going, or you are debating on sending money and you need to speak to somebody immediately about the concerns, then we recommend you reach out to your local police." he said.