Nassau County residents should be wary of fake telephone calls and emails from people claiming to be employees of the Internal Revenue Service, police and the office of the county executive said Thursday.

The contacts are made in an effort to collect money for unpaid taxes, according to a news release from County Executive Edward Mangano.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Individuals are contacted by scammers claiming that money is owed the IRS, the release said. Potential victims are told they can avoid arrest, foreclosure or other penalties if they can make a payment with a credit card, debit card or wire transfer.

The IRS does not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone nor will it request a prepaid debit card or wire transfer for payment, the release said.

Scammers often give the last four digits of a potential victim's Social Security number to show they are representatives of the agency, or they "spoof" the IRS' toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that the agency is calling.

Sometimes, after a telephone scammer hangs up, another soon calls back, pretending to be from local police or another agency, supporting the first caller's claims.

Anyone with information on the IRS scam or other such fraudulent solicitations can call Nassau County Crime Stoppers 800-244-8477. All calls will remain confidential.