DENVER (KDVR) — Credit card, romance, lottery and online shopping scams are expected to ramp up during the upcoming holiday season.

A high-level online scam is targeting those who need to sign up for service from Xcel Energy.

Scammers can benefit from impersonating companies like Xcel because they can potentially access millions of people in several states. Xcel tells FOX31 they have slapped the site with a cease and desist order, but it could pop up at any time, so it is important to recognize the scam’s red flags.

FOX31’s Problem Solvers talked to an expert on the scam at Xcel’s headquarters in Minneapolis.

Nora Lindgren tells FOX31 that just by Googling Xcel, customers can land on the scammer’s slick-looking webpage that shows several utility companies. An ad displays a phone number. If the number is called, scammers quickly ask for personal information.

“Their social security number or banking information and in some instances, we’ve had customers report they’ve been asked to make immediate payments,” said Lindgren.

Xcel Energy’s real phone number is 1-800-895-4999, which appears on their legitimate website and in mail correspondence.

Lindgren says the best way to keep your information safe is to beware of anyone using high-pressure tactics and asking for immediate payments.

“If you are hearing someone ask for a payment upfront to complete a transaction that would be a big red flag,” Lindgren said.

Scammers tend to only accept one form of payment, usually prepaid debit cards or gift cards. Xcel will never ask a customer to avoid disconnection by using a prepaid debit card and will initially contact customers through the mail.

Customers can look up their accounts to confirm any amount due. Visit Xcel’s website for more information on how to avoid scams.