"We gonna arrest you. We on our way right now with a warrant for your arrest. You gonna be handcuffed. You cannot get out of this," Gloria Theyard of New Orleans East said.
The caller, a man with some type of accent, used harsh words, and Theyard says he claimed to be from the Internal Revenue Service. The man called her not once, but three times from an unknown number and explained how the IRS had tried to reach her by mail.
"I said I didn't receive anything from IRS, if I would have received the first letter, I would have responded," Theyard explained. In a stern voice, she said the man said, "well now we found you" and demanded that she pay up.
"You owe IRS $2,485.75, and when you say the $0.75 it just sounds so real putting the cents with it," Theyard said She said he told her "this is for back taxes.. you're audited, and you have to pay this right now so, if you don't pay it, we gonna seize your property, all of your property, your house, your car, anything that you have, it's gonna be taken from you."
When she started asking more questions, the caller eventually hung up.. but she says he put such fear in her, threatening arrest that she went straight to the IRS office in downtown New Orleans for help. "I went with my pajamas on, my pajama top and a coat to IRS, that's how frightened I was because they said, 'we on our way.. we know where you are right now,'" Theyard said.
The IRS warned Theyard she'd experienced a pervasive telephone scam. It's not new, but sure seems to have ramped up in our area. Just in the last week, the FOX 8 Defenders received several similar complaints like messages in voicemails that threatened people with a lawsuit.
When we searched the phone number on Theyard's ID, the 425 area code was out of Washington State, and we found more people with similar complaints in online posts. Upsetting as it is to relive the conversation, Theyard wants others to be on guard.
"It's over, but then it's not over.. how close I came to being really scammed.. really being taken advantage of," Theyard said. One thing you can always count on from the IRS, according to
, it will always send written notification of any tax due via the U.S. Mail. The IRS also says it never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the phone.
If you have a consumer complaint, call the FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women at 1-877-677-6390 or fill out our online complaint form.