Charlotte, NC -- Tonight, a spike in what’s being called an “energy scam.”

Have you received a call from someone claiming to be from Duke Energy threatening to turn off your electricity? If so, you’re not alone. Consumer reporter Bill McGinty explains how you can protect your money.

When the IRS scam went away in September of this year, officials noticed a spike in October of this energy scam. We all need electricity, and quite frankly, we all depend on it, which is what makes this scam all that much more effective.

Duke Energy produced a video of their customers describing the intimidation and threats used by scam artists to get money. Duke says the MO is to call you during your busiest hours, early morning, maybe after school or dinner time. The number on your caller ID will likely even show up as Duke Energy and they will tell you that your bill is past due and that if not paid immediately, they’ll shut you down.

Jared Lawrence is the Vice President of Revenue Services with Duke Energy and says “there will be somebody claiming to be from duke energy saying that payments must be made immediately and if not, the customer will be up for disconnection within the hour.”

Whether you are a homeowner or a business, what you need to know is that Duke will never call you or show up demanding payment and threaten to shut it off all in the same day.

Lawrence says customers “should immediately hang up, first thing they should do is call local law enforcement and then call Duke Energy.”

Tom Bartholomy is President of the Better Business Bureau here in Charlotte and says “we’ve seen a number of scams over the years that typically operate through fear.”