By Justin Udo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An old scam is resurfacing throughout the Delaware Valley, and it’s targeting PECO customers. Now, the energy company is working to make sure people know just what’s going on, so they can avoid the swindlers.

Scammers are calling PECO customers, telling them their service is in danger of being cut off and instructing them to purchase a prepaid debit card to pay their bill. The scheme has cost customers thousands of dollars.

“The scam claims the customers are behind on their account and must make immediate payment to avoid service termination,” explained PECO’s Ben Armstrong.

Armstrong says customers are then urged to purchase a debit card to make their payment.

“The customers are then directed to contact a number that they are provided with by the caller to utilize the card for immediate payment to their account,” he said. “Once that information is provided to the scammer the funds on that card are wiped clean.”

Armstrong says this scam has been going on for some time, but over the last few weeks, they’ve seen an uptick in people falling victim to the crime.

“Customers should never provide their social security number or banking or credit card information via the phone unless they have initiated the call,” he warned. “We would never call a customer and tell them to go to a local pharmacy or to a local convenient store to purchase a prepaid debit card, then to come back and read us the information from that card.”

Armstrong urges anyone who thinks they may have fallen victim to the scam to contact PECO and local police.