You hear about this in movies.
In fact, it sounds like a hostage situation, with someone on the other end of the phone who holds the power and can ruin your life.
Fortunately, that’s not how it happens with the IRS.
Emily Lotz, Avon Lake mother of two, found that out almost $4,000 too late.
"They said that they were from the IRS and we had not paid some of our taxes and had done so intentionally which meant that there was a warrant out for my arrest,” Lotz said.
She thought the government left her a message about her tax situation, so she returned the phone call.
She said the person on the other end of the phone was aggressive, persistent and even threatening to her.
"They told me that if I disconnected the phone call at any time, that immediately I would be arrested,” Lotz said. "They would freeze all of our assets, put a lien on our house, put a lien on our car."
She said she believed them and she thought the worst might happen if she didn’t comply, so she did.
She bought $3,868 in Best Buy gift cards.
"I feel ridiculous for having done that, but I was scared and they played on my emotions,” Lotz said.
It’s something scammers are known to do, but the first lesson she learned is that the IRS will never contact you by phone.
"When I googled the number, it came up immediately as an IRS scam phone number,” Lotz said.
She shared this as the number: (843) 401-5215.
If you do get a phone call, the longer you stay on with them, the more likely they are to get your money.
"I should have just hung up, just hang up the phone,” Lotz said. "It's a very expensive lesson learned."
Avon Lake police and Best Buy are working to get the money back to Emily and her family.
Right now, they’ve gotten at least half the money back but there’s still a long process ahead.