CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Duke Energy is warning customers about a utility scam that has already been reported by thousands nationwide.

“Scammers, they typically try all sorts of tactics. Their ultimate goal is to try and get money from customers,” Duke Energy Spokesperson Meghan Miles said.

It happens when a customer gets a call from a person pretending to be a utility representative, the scammer will lie and say there's an unpaid balance on the account, and then finally threaten to disconnect power within the hour if the customer doesn't pay up.

Duke Energy and other utility companies rolled out a national campaign last November so customers aren’t kept in the dark.

“We want to make sure we are protecting our customers and their hard earned money,” Miles said.

Miles said they will never instruct a customer to buy a prepaid debit card to make a payment.

“We would never send one single notification an hour before a customer would be up for disconnection,” she went on.

If you get one of these phone calls hang up, call the police, and call your utility provider using the phone number on your bill.