If you receive a phone call which claims to be from the local utility company threatening to cut off your utilities because of a past-due balance or a bad payment method, check directly with the utility first.

The caller will ask for immediate payment over the phone to prevent a disruption in your services. They even may try to provide you with a confirmation number or a check number.

The Better Business Bureau serving Louisville, Southern Indiana and Western Kentucky has heard about recent examples of the utility scam. It offers these tips for consumers.

• Check your account. If you have access to check your account online, see if your past payment cleared through your bank or through the utility company.

• Call the utility directly. Do not provide any of your personal information over the phone. Call your utility company directly to see if there is an issue. Scammers often use names of real companies such as LG&E, Duke Energy and a local cable provider.

• Be wary of payment methods. If the person on the phone asks for a credit card, banking account information or pre-paid debit card over the phone, hang up.

• Don’t fall for threatening tactics. The caller might use a threatening tone or use high-pressure tactics to try to get you to immediately pay or “face the consequences.” Hang up and call your utility company directly to ensure you are speaking to a real representative.

For more consumers tips, go to www.bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222. To report a questionable call, go to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.

Mindy Eaton, director of communications and marketing for the Better Business Bureau’s regional office, can be reached at meaton@bbb.louisville.org.