It takes a special kind of worthless human being to kick a man, or a community for that matter when they're down. But believe or not that kind of lowlife exists in this dumpster fire of a year that is 2020. CLECO, the energy company that serves a large portion of Louisiana, is reporting a post-hurricane scam that we don't want you to fall for.

The scam works like this, you receive a phone call or text from an individual who claims to be a representative of that utility. The scammer tells you that your electrical service will be cut off if immediate payment is not received. The scammer then tells you the best way to ensure your service won't be interrupted is to secure a prepaid gift card and then forward the information on the card to the "representative".

If you didn't see the red flags in that description, let me point them out for you. CLECO does not and will never demand immediate payment. That's not how they do business. In fact, that's not how any reputable business operates. CLECO also doesn't use "prepaid gift cards" as a rule to confirm payment on a service account.

Unfortunately with so many people just getting power restored and so much confusion in the post-hurricane haze, a lot of people are falling for this scam. We don't want you to become a victim. Here's how you can avoid handing your hard-earned money over to a criminal with no recourse to get it back.

Should you receive a text or phone call from CLECO or any company for that matter regarding your account status, simply ignore the contact information they give you. Instead, you call the utility or company directly or go online to their website and review your account. Should your account be in arrears you will be directed through the proper channels to bring your account status up to date or arrange a payment plan.

CLECO and every utility provider in South Louisiana is bending over backwards to help people affected by the storms get back on their feet as quickly as possible. I promise, they will work with you if you are willing to work with them.

Remember gift cards are for Christmas and kids birthdays, not for paying a delinquent power bill on demand. Don't be stupid.