Swepco has a warning for area residents as we close in on the holiday season: "beware of scammers".

The typical way this scam works is a phone call asking you to pay your bill or pay a deposit or your electricity will be turned off. The scam artist might also tell you to make a payment before a new meter is installed. You could also be told about discounts for signing up for bill pay automatically, but in that case, like all the others, you would be asked for information the scammer will use to steal from you.

The primary target of the scammers is the elderly. But several businesses have also gotten these calls.

Another red flag to look for is if the called asks you to put money on a pre-paid credit card. Swepco officials say this is not how the company operates. In fact, Swepco will never demand an immediate payment where you would have to meet a representative from the company somewhere with a prepaid card.

This scam is not unique to Swepco. It's happening with dozens of gas and electricity companies across the country.