Mysterious Russian Phone Calls Unnerve El Paso, Texas

Are those pesky Russians trying to influence the heavily Mexican population of El Paso, Texas, into voting for Donald Trump?

Or are they just trying to make a dishonest dollar?

This is one of the more unusual stories you’re likely to read.


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – There is a good chance you or someone you know may have received a call from Russia over the past few days.

Recently, a large population in El Paso got the mysterious call. In most cases, it’s been a missed call or the person answers and no one is on the other line.

Technology experts are calling it a “One Ring Scam.” We caught up with a local coffee shop that said most customers Tuesday morning got the same call within a one-hour time frame.

“Well it just sort of created a bunch of conspiracy theories. We were all wondering if it had something to do with influencing the election and are they trying to hack into our bank statements and password,” said Epheraim Vivar the general manager at Podium Finish Sport Boutique & Café.

Experts said the person who is calling you is trying to get you to call back. If you do call back, they’ll transfer the call to another very expensive number. The longer you stay on the call, the more money you’ll be charged; they’ll try to keep you on longer by playing music.

The calls are not just coming from Russian numbers, but also from various foreign countries.

That is not the only way schemers are using technology to try to take something from you. In late April, the FBI warned a foreign hacker is trying to get information through home routers.

“The damage part is mostly listening to conversations on the network. So if you’re logging on to accounts, they can basically sit there and monitor what you’re putting in. So credentials can be lost and data can be logged,” said Nils Desmet the CEO at Makios Technology, a computer consulting company.

The company said people should reboot routers to factory settings.

Read the warning and tips the FBI released last month by clicking here.

More details from El Paso 411

The El Paso 411 Media Center received a tip at around 5 a.m. saying that a large number of people at a local Walmart all received a cell phone call from a Russian based phone number at the same time. Just a few hours later, employees from Podium Finish Sport Boutique-Cafe-Indoor training reached out to say that about 22 customers all received a phone call between 5 am and 6 am as well. Throughout the day nearly a dozen people reached out to El Paso 411 seeking information about the calls.

At around 5 pm, while writing this story, our hotline also received a phone call from +7 954 400 00 33, a Russian phone number.

When answered, the phone call drops. When we called back, a voice recording says “Someone sent you a love song” and then proceeds to play a song, where we quickly hang up. Subsequent calls were unsuccessful. ( Please note, we do not encourage you to call these numbers. Since it’s an international call, you’ll likely be charged an extra rate if you try to call back. My coworker also said the music could potentially be a brainwashing technique. [Let’s hope it’s not.])

I wouldn’t call that number back if I were you.

The only ring, ring I want to hear …

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