BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township Police have reported an increase in the number of residents receiving scam phone calls by people claiming to represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to a release from the department, an increased number of residents are reporting that they have received telephone or email communications from people claiming to represent the IRS.

In the scam, a release said, callers threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things because of alleged money that hasn't been paid.

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As a result of the scam, more than 5,000 victims have collectively paid over $26.5 million since October 2013.

The scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be from the IRS, and demand the victims pay bogus tax bills. They con the victims into sending cash, often through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.

Often the scammers will call to demand immediate payment, demand the victim pay taxes without the opportunity to appeal, require a specific payment to be used, ask for credit card numbers over the phone and threaten to bring in police to have victims arrested for not paying.

According to a release from the Bridgewater Township Police, the IRS will not seek to collect back or overdue tax liabilities via the phone, email or social media.

Anyone who is a victim of the scam attempt should report it to the U.S. Treasury Department via