BROOKLYN - The NYPD is stepping up efforts to fight a recent wave of scams involving Green Dot MoneyPak cards found in stores across the city.

The department released a flier Thursday explaining how a money scam works, and how residents can avoid being swindled. They say many scammers call victims and claim they are from the IRS or with utility companies threatening to stop services if the resident does not pay.

Victims are then instructed to put money onto a MoneyPak card and give the serial number of the card to the person calling.

The NYPD says residents should be suspicious of any caller demanding payment for any reason. They advise not to give out personal or financial information to anyone making unsolicited calls or emails.

They warn residents to make sure they know the person asking them for money, and add that utility companies and government agencies will never contact you for immediate payment by MoneyPak.