CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- With the temperature going down, Duke Energy says the number of utility scams is on their way up.

According to Hiya, a phone scam protection company, utility scams increased to 109 percent in 2016.

The scam artists are professionals -- working across all platforms -- and whether it be over the phone, email or in person, they are doing their homework to see who's most susceptible to being scammed.

Duke says the scammers strike at the busiest times, calling around breakfast, after school or dinner time.

The information on your caller ID will show up as Duke Energy and they will tell that your bill is past due and if it's not paid immediately, your power will be shut off.

"It's a cash cow," said Tom Bartholomy of the Better Business Bureau.

What you need to know is that Duke will never call you or show up demanding payment and threaten to shut off power in the same day.

That's the work of a scam artist.

"They're in the Caribbean. They're in Africa. They're in Eastern Europe. They're not from around here," Bartholomy said.

Bartholomy said the Charlotte area is the third hottest spot in the country when it comes to scams reported by consumers and businesses, an alarmingly high rate.

"If they're asking for the debit card, that should be the big red flag," he added.

Duke says if you ever feel that a person is impersonating a Utility worker, they encourage you to call the number on listed on your energy bill.