Scammers once again try to break into your life, this time threatening to cut off your electricity supply.

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato says that reports are on the rise of calls from con artists claiming to represent electric companies. Their standard line is that the electric meter on the house needs immediate replacement, and that it requires an immediate payment.

That payment has been reported anywhere from $250 to $500. The scammer wants it sent in a money order, moneygram or prepaid card. The alternative that victims get is that their power supply will be cut.

Coronato and county Consumer Affairs Director Steve Scaturro say that it's obviously pointed at people trying to rebuild their homes in the aftermath of the superstorm. Electric companies never demand immediate payments by threatening disconnection for a meter change.

The problem in investigation is the shadowy world of cyberspace. Internet-based websites and programs cloak the actual phone numbers from which scammers call. Authorities say they're usually in other states, and often in other countries. Tracing through all the subterfuge is difficult at best, and recovering money impossible.

Should you receive such a call, Coronato and Scaturro recommend staying resistant to pressure for immediate action. If you don't simply hang up immediately - always a good option - then verify the caller's validity. If you're given a phone number to reference, don't bother calling it. Instead, call the number on your monthly statement.

If you think you've been victimized, call the Prosecutor's office, 732-929-2027. The county Consumer Affairs office has additional tips on avoiding phone scams at 732-929-2105.

You can also learn more at the Ocean County web page.