Police are warning people that scamming activity is common around tax time.
Police are warning people that scamming activity is common around tax time. Samantha Elley

Six calls and an arrest threat made to Mackay family

SARAH Foden is used to getting a few annoying telemarketer phone calls, but none have been pushy enough to threaten arrest. That changed on Monday, about 11am, when she got the first phone call from a man who claimed to be from the Australian Taxation Office.

Initially she thought it was legitimate.

But there was an amateur nature to the message - and then, the fact she received six of the phone calls in 24 hours. She changed her mind.

"I pick it up and it's a recorded message and I can hear other people in the background. It's almost impossible to understand," Ms Foden said.

"It's a really bad recording. My husband had to listen to it three times to understand what he was saying."

The caller claimed to be from the ATO and gave them a phone number to call. There was also a threat of an arrest.

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"It's getting bloody silly," Ms Foden said. "We don't usually use the home phone line because nine times out of ten it's a telemarketer. We have an array of people trying to sell something. But this is ridiculous. They say they are from the tax department and they are withholding my name for security purposes. They don't even say my name."

Ms Foden has four children and the three and two-year-olds were often asleep when the calls came in. It only adds to the family's frustration.

Ms Foden said she felt it was intrusive. She has owned the phone number for about nine years and she used to register the number to avoid telemarketing, but it had been taken off the system after two years.

Scam email confirmed

Mackay Police officer Steve Smith also confirmed yesterday a fraudulent email was in circulation in the Mackay district.

The website link contained in the email is known to be malicious, with the URL linking to a 'dummy' site. Police advise following the ATO's advice if you receive this email, or one similar.

Firstly, forward the email to report emailfraud@ato.gov.au. Secondly, delete the email from your inbox and sent items without clicking any links.

Scamming activity is common at tax time, police said.

If you are unsure about the authenticity of an email/SMS or phone call claiming to be from the ATO, contact the ATO Scam Hotline on 1800 008 540.