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A threat of having power turned off had the desired effect on a nail salon employee in Madison, who sent $500 to a scammer claiming to be from the utility Alliant Energy.

The scam was played on an employee at 4K Nails, 7416 Mineral Point Road, Madison police said.

"She was told the business owed for past energy costs, and power would be shut off in 30 to 40 minutes if the situation was not immediately rectified," said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

The victim was told to go to a pharmacy to get a Green Dot MoneyPak card. She did so, loading $500 onto the card then giving the card number to the scammer.

"Each year, police investigate several cases similar to this scam," DeSpain said.

Bill Novak is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.