The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to be aware of a phone scam.

Detectives say the suspect calls county residents by falsely identifying his or herself as a Duke Energy representative and demands payment before the person’s power gets turned off.

The suspect instructs the person to go to the nearest convenience store to purchase pre-paid debit, credit or gift cards. The suspect instructs the citizen to provide the numbers on the back of the card and directs them to provide the card information.

Detectives say several Pinellas County residents have been targeted using this scam.

Duke Energy will never call residents asking for money over the phone. Detectives advise for people not to give personal or account information over the phone.

Anyone with information on these scams or who is a victim is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 727-852-6200.

The investigation is ongoing.

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