Those phone scams are alive and well in New Jersey and getting worse, according to a new survey by a maker of call-blocking devices.

Bryony Hipkin heads up marketing for CPR Call Blocker. They found that in 2016, 1 in every 937 calls in the country was a scam or robocall.

She says the IRS scam tops the list in New Jersey: "People claiming to be the IRS, and demanding money or late payment."

She says credit and loan scams and robocall scams  are two and three on the list, and they can hurt. About 17 percent of those in the survey lost money to scams in the past 12 months.

No. 4 on the list are lottery and sweepstakes scams, and No. 5 is "missed call" scams.

The survey also revealed that many scams would have the victim hand over personal and security details or they ask the victim to pay a processing fee or call back on a premium rate line.

"These people who are calling tend to have a pretty good idea of who you are, whether you may be susceptible to being scammed, or if you are that vulnerable or slightly older.

"Unfortunately, it seems that if you are 55 and older, they know and they are pretty clever and savvy and target people."

Kipkin's advice about that call out of the blue?

"It is always good to be aware and if you are in doubt, just hang up."

If the call purports to be from the IRS, make sure that you get the verified IRS number from their website and give them a call back, and they will be able to tell you whether or not it is from their office.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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