The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office (VPSO) has announced it has received several calls from residents reporting someone has called them threatening to shut off their electricity.

Residents have claimed the scammers tried to get them to purchase gift cards, and if they did not comply the scammer threatened to shut off their electricity.

The scammers will often claim the resident has a delinquent bill to pressure them into getting their money.

The VPSO is reminding residents that this is a scam, and residents should hang up and block the caller.

The scammers are operating from all around the world, and are disguising their phone numbers to trick locals.

“The call may show a local number but they are actually international calls,” VPSO Detective Rhonda Jordan said. “The instant that the caller requests the citizen to purchase any type of credit/gift cards the resident should hang up and block the number or simply not answer the phone if the number calls back.”

The VPSO advises against sending any money to these individuals, and reminds residents that once the money is given to the scammers it cannot be recovered.

If residents are concerned about their utility bills they should double check their account by contacting their service provider.