ST. PAUL, Minn. - Xcel Energy and the Ramsey County Sheriff are warning customers about a phone scam.

More than 250 Xcel Energy customers from Roseville, Shoreview and North Oak called the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office about the scam.

According to Xcel Energy, residents were called from a number that appears to be Xcel Energy and told that they have a past due bill. They are told that if they do not pay the bill within 30 minutes their energy will be disconnected.

The scammer then asks for a credit card number, pre-paid credit card or money order by calling a separate phone number.

Investigators say the scammers are targeting residents and businesses.

Xcel Energy says they will never ask or require a customer with a past due account to purchase a prepaid debit card to avoid disconnection.

Notices of disconnection are sent through the mail, not over the phone.

“It’s distressing. It’s despicable,” said Xcel Energy Regional Vice President Laura McCarten about the scam.

She added: “It’s not how Xcel Energy does business with our customers. Hopefully we can help get the word out so customers can avoid falling victim to this.”

If you received one of these calls, hang up and call Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-4999 and report it to the Better Business Bureau. Never call the phone number the scammers provide.