EDMOND, Okla. -- When the phone rang, the 57-year-old Edmond woman panicked.
It was a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS.
"He told her she was delinquent in tax returns to the tune of $17,000," Edmond police spokeswoman, Jenny Wagnon, said.
The hardworking taxpayer was told she'd go to jail if she didn't race to several local stores and purchase $17,000 in iTunes gift cards.
"It's very aggressive, bullying. Making you feel very desperate like you have to do it at that moment. That's not how they operate. That's what they are counting on, someone being so fearful they will go out immediately and do what they say," Wagnon said.
Investigators say she's not alone.
"Obviously, this scam is working. There are 6,400 victims nationwide that we know of. They are convincing. They know what they're doing. But people need to be aware this is not how the IRS will contact you," Wagnon said.
According to the official IRS website, agents will never:
•Call to demand immediate payment over the phone
•Threaten to immediately bring in local police
•Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount
•Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
It was a costly mistake for one Edmond woman to the iTune of $17,000.
Similar scams across the country have bilked taxpayers out of $36.5 million, according to federal agents.