Atlantic City Electric warns its customers that scammers are calling around and threatening service cutoffs within a hour for unpaid bill balances.

Utility spokesman Frank Tedesco says the caller tells customers they can stave off service disruption by sending them a prepaid debit card.

"They are falsely claiming that a customer's electric service account is delinquent and will be shut off for nonpayment unless a 'green dot' gift card is purchased for a specific amount dictated by the scammer."

The scammer often becomes angry and tells the customers that his or her account is past due and service will be shut off if the payment is not made, usually within an hour.

"That should be a red flag for our customers: If they receive a call from someone claiming to be from Atlantic City Electric, claiming a monetary payment immediately, with the threat of shutting off service. It is a scam."

He says the utility will never terminate service without several prior notices.

"[Customers] should never provide any sort of Social Security number or personal information to anyone initiating contact, claiming to be a representative with Atlantic City Electric. And we also encourage customers to ask to see a photo ID if a utility worker approaches their home or business, which has happened in the past."

Also be skeptical of folks wearing clothing with old or defaced company logos.

Tedesco says Atlantic City Electric never requests payment with a gift card.

Customers can always call the company's hotline at 800-642-3780 or website to check on the status of their account.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor at New Jersey 101.5

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