The Fairhope Police Department is warning residents of a telephone scam in which callers claim their utilities are about to be shut off.

In a news release, the department says callers claim to represent Alabama Power and are telling citizens their utilities will be shut off under they immediately pay a sum of money. Victims are instructed to go to a retail store, purchase a pre-paid debit card and give the card number to the caller.

Police advise that anyone who has lost money through this scam should report it to the Fairhope Police Department or their local department if outside Fairhope.

Legitimate businesses do not operate this way. They will not call and demand credit card numbers or tell you to get a pre-paid card to settle a bill. Citizens should hang up.

Police also advise that citizens do not use any contact numbers provided by the caller, and warn that caller ID functions can be “spoofed” to falsely identify a call as having come from a utility provider.

Alabama Power is also warning consumers about the scam.