Suspected criminals target Oxford electric customers

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OXFORD, Miss. -- The Oxford Electric Department gets more calls than it makes. Lately though, someone’s been calling businesses around town ordering them to make specific payment arrangements or lose their power.

”A lot of times they focus on the calls on a Friday or over the weekend, where a concerned customer would be left in the dark,” said Oxford Electric Superintendent Robert Neely, who reports the callers get aggressive, even mean.

”It’s very threatening. They had one of our customers in tears the other day.”

They demand customers send online payments that never go to the electric department, but to the crook on the other end of the phone.

Oxford Electric serves 9,000 customers, and managers say different types of businesses get targeted every time. One week could be hair salons, the next week something else.

Neely says the calls from from half way across the country.

”It was coming up in the state of Washington they were calling from then they figured out how to make the caller ID say the City of Oxford.”

Now he’s warning anyone who gets these calls to check with the electric department as soon as they can.

He says Oxford never calls people to warn of a cutoff, they do it in writing. Besides, Oxford Electric never cuts people off on weekends.

”We don’t have people on staff cutting people off on weekends,” Neely said.

He’s got police on the case, and hopes they make an arrest before another business owner loses more money.

To check with Oxford Electric, you can call them at 662-232-2373