CORNELIUS – The Cornelius Police Department is warning residents and business owners of a recent phone scam in the area. 

Numerous victims have reported receiving phone calls from representatives from a government agency, law enforcement agency or utility company making claims about past-due tickets, warrants or past-due balances. 

The caller then tells the victim to buy a pre-paid debit card with the amount due and read the number off the back of the card to avoid being arrested or losing utility service. 

Once the money is taken from the victim's bank account, the bank will not refund the money since the money was voluntarily given away. 

If you are contacted by anyone claiming to be affiliated with a municipality, government agency, law enforcement agency or utility company telling you to pay with a specific pre-paid debit card, police advise you to write down the caller’s phone number and alert your local law enforcement agency.