A female caller claiming to be an Internal Revenue Service officer attempted to scam a New Canaan resident this week, according to a news release issued Wednesday by Police Chief Leon Krolikowski.

A resident reported receiving an unsolicited phone call from "IRS Officer Hellgrate," whom police said has a heavy foreign accent, likely Spanish. The scammer left a message on the resident's answering machine asking the resident to immediately return the call to avoid legal proceedings and not be prosecuted, according to the release.

The call back number was 202-506-9925, which appears to be from the Washington, D.C., area, but is it likely a "spoofed" call, Krolikowski wrote.

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When police called the number as part of the investigation, the caller hung up, police said. The call appeared to be computer-generated, but other calls may be initiated by live callers, according to the release.

Krolikowski said that "older residents are usually the targets of these fraudulent telephone calls" and that the IRS generally contacts taxpayers via mail.

The chief asked residents to be suspicious of unsolicited telephone calls, voice messages and e-mails; avoid conversations with unknown callers; check information that is provided by the caller to ensure it is accurate and legitimate; and contact the police department at 203-594-3500 for assistance.

Krolikowski also reminded residents to never call unsolicited callers back; wire money in response to an unknown caller who makes an unexpected demand; or give personal information -- such dates of birth, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers and computer passwords -- to unknown persons over the phone or e-mail.