By Brad Segall

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — A phone scam targeting Peco customers in Philadelphia and the suburbs appears to be picking up steam, but officials say the number of people falling for the scam is dropping.

More than 330 customers called Peco last month to report they had been contacted by someone claiming their power would be shut off immediately if they didn’t take care of a past-due bill.  The caller told the customers to buy a prepaid Green Dot Visa Card and call a number to provide the serial number.

The card would then be wiped clean.

Peco spokesman Ben Armstrong says the electric utility will always make numerous attempts to reach someone before it’s lights out.

“You will receive a letter ten days out, another letter 72 hours out,” he notes.  “We will also try to contact you several times over the phone within 24 to 48 hours of that service termination.”

He credits the media for making the public aware of the scam (see previous story), and he says the percentage of people who lost money has dropped dramatically so far this year.

If you get a call, Armstrong advises, contact your local authorities and let Peco know as well.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  This story was re-edited slightly on 7/21/14 to include a correction from Peco.]

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