AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Xcel Energy said it has received several reports of its customers in Texas and New Mexico having received attempts at scams over the phone and wanted to offer ways that its customers can protect themselves.

According to Xcel, scammers attempt to tell customers that their account is past due and their services will be disconnected if a large payment is not made in a short timeframe. Xcel said the scammer will then instruct the customer to buy a pre-paid debit or credit card and have the customer call back to then make their supposed payment.

Xcel said the scammers can sound professional as well as make their caller ID look like it is coming from Xcel.

Xcel offered some quick warning signs to tell if a call is legitimate including:

  • Customers should be suspicious if a caller requires a single form of payment, such as requiring the use of a prepaid debit card. Xcel said it would never ask or require a customer with a past due account to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.
  • Xcel Energy customers will initially be contacted by U.S. mail about past due bills, not over the phone. Past due bills and disconnection notices will be sent via U.S. mail in writing before power is actually turned off.
  • Customers should never wire money, provide bank card numbers, and social security numbers to an unverified source.

Current account information can be found by customers online through Xcel’s MyAccount service.

Officials with Xcel Energy said if a customer is in doubt as to whether a call is legitimate to hang up immediately and call Xcel Energy Customer Service at 1-800-895-4999 or the Business Solutions Center at 1-800-481-4700 from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to report the experience. Customers who are affected should call to file a complaint with local authorities said Xcel.