Virginia Beach, Va. - A Virginia Beach woman lost more than $21,000 to scam artists claiming to be with the IRS.
"I don`t sleep at night. I can`t," said the woman, who asked NewsChannel 3 not to reveal her identity. "I'm always thinking of the credit card bill that`s going to come in February."
"It`s devastating. Nobody should have to go through this," she said.
Her nightmare began with a phone call last Friday at noon from 1-866-931-3773.
"He`s calling me because there`s a tax fraud investigation on my account from the years 2008 to 2012," she explained.
"I said excuse me, but I never seen any yellow notices on my door. And he said are you calling me a liar ma'am? Are you calling the IRS liar?" she recalled.
"He said well this is tax fraud. You`re going to go to jail. I said well how do I not go to jail? What do I have to do? He said well you have to make this payment right now," said the woman. ""He put the fear of God in me!"
He told her to put money on green dot money cards, scratch off the numbers, and read them over the phone.
As he kept her on the phone for hours, directing her every move, more calls came in.
"He said the sheriff`s department is going to be there in 45 minutes to pick you up and arrest you and take you to jail," she said. "And of course my mind blew up."
By the end of the ordeal, she gave the con artist access to tens of thousands of dollars in cash and credit cards.
"It was just one whole day of torture," she said. "I did not realize it was a scam, and when someone threatens me with the police to be arrested and thrown in jail... I guess not only me would react that way."
She is not alone.
The IRS said this is one of the biggest phone scams in history, and it targeted at least 20,000 people last year.
Authorities said these scammers are usually calling the United States from foreign countries, and they have had very little success of finding or prosecuting them.
The sheriff's department and police departments do not make arrests on behalf of the IRS. Also, real IRS officials typically reach out by mail first and they and do not demand immediate payment by debit card, credit card or wire transfer.
As for the Virginia Beach woman, she said she is pleading with Bank of America to cut down the fees, but has not had any luck so far.