The Washington Police Department is reminding citizens to be vigilant when it comes to phone scams after a wave hit Washington this week.

The scam, Detective Sgt. Steve Sitzes said, involves a automated phone call claiming to be the Internal Revenue Service (IRS.) In the phone call, the caller will be misinformed that they owe money to the IRS and, in some cases, will be arrested within the next few hours if they fail to pay the amount they owe.

This week there has been a surge of reports, Sitzes noted. He said the area code may just be getting hit with the scam right now and urged citizens to hang up if they receive a call.

Typically these phone calls will be automated and electronically generated. Sitzes said the scam has been around for some time.

Sitzes stressed that any “cold call” from the IRS is almost certainly fake and said that the IRS will not have people arrested like the call claims.

He added that those who received a call need not call the Washington Police unless they provided personal information or had a monetary loss. Just receiving a call, he said, doesn’t warrant a report as the department is aware of the scam.