The Orange Police Department has issued the following alert about what they call a new variation on an old scam.

Recently, a handful of local businesses were targeted by scammers who called them pretending to be the local electric utility company (United Illuminating).

During these scams, the callers tell the businesses that they are behind on their electric bills, and that the electricity will be shut off immediately unless a payment is made.

The callers then request payment be made through 'cash cards', 'gift cards', or other non-traditional methods.

When the businesses comply and give the callers the payments, the callers demand even more payments, and that is usually when the victims turn to police for assistance.

Businesses in Orange have lost over $4200 to these scams in the last month. If you receive a call of this nature, or ANY type of suspicious call, remember:

1) Most legitimate businesses will conduct official business in writing.

2) NO legitimate business will accept payment via gift cards, iTunes, or 'cash cards'.

3) You can always hang up the phone and call the business directly. If you legitimately owe money, they will work with you to make payments in a proper fashion.

4) If you feel something is 'off' about a call you received, contact the police department for assistance.