PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — There has been a recent spike in Ameren scams, just in the past week hundreds of calls have already been reported in the Greater Peoria area.

Here are the top three red flags to look out for when you receive an unexpected call.

  1. Scam artists will use language like “we need your payment immediately.”
  2. “If not, your power or natural gas will be shut off.”
  3. Scammers will ask for payments like Cash App and Zelle.

An Ameren Spokesperson, Brian Bretsch, said scam artists have been recently targeting small business owners, typically those who do not speak English.

“They generally call at a busy time so, at a restaurant, they like to call during the lunch hour, hopefully, catch somebody off guard,” said Bretsch.

He said scam artists will also target vulnerable demographics like senior citizens. If you hear any of the red flags we mentioned, Bretsch said you are urged to hang up and call 1-(800)-755-5000.