SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Utility officials warned the public Wednesday to beware of a scam that has been targeting San Diego Gas & Electric residential and business customers.

Unidentified con artists posing as utility employees have been telephoning potential victims and threatening to shut off their electricity and gas service unless an immediate payment is made, according to SDG&E.

The targeted customers are instructed to purchase a prepaid credit card, then directed to a phone number through which information is obtained from the card and the cash value removed.

SDG&E does not proactively telephone its customers to seek credit information and advises people to refrain from providing any such data over the phone unless they have initiated the call, according to the utility.

Anyone who receives such a contact or who has an outstanding service balance that needs to be resolved is asked to call SDG&E at (800) 411-7343.