The Malta Independent 21 October 2021, Thursday

Police called to homes of Jason Azzopardi, journalist in spoof attack

Thursday, 14 October 2021, 09:52 Last update: about 7 days ago

The police were called out to the homes of Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi and a journalist in the early hours of Wednesday, after receiving spoof calls impersonating their numbers and indicating that they were in distress.

The incident is an escalation of a harassment campaign that some weeks ago saw the creation of a series of fake websites and e-mails.

Police stations received separate calls showing the numbers of Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi and the journalist, who asked not to be named, with a message saying they needed help, Times of Malta reports.

Also the same time, the two received spoof calls claiming to be from numbers that they knew: one call spoofed the number of Matthew Caruana Galizia, the son of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia; another from Times of Malta journalist Matthew Xuereb.

Also on Wednesday afternoon, a Times of Malta landline received a spoof call from Azzopardi’s number, with a pre-recorded message saying: “Stop writing about the spoofs. Stop writing about Yorgen Fenech. Stop writing about blogger Simon Mercieca… stop writing now.”

When Times of Malta tried to reverse the call, the number did not exist.

The cybercrime unit is investigating the reports after a report was filed by Azzopardi. “I’ve had a hell of a night. I was receiving calls from numbers that I recognised and then, when I picked up the phone, there were just funny sounds or folk music or pre-recorded messages,” Azzopardi told TOM.

The calls are an escalation of spoof websites and e-mails attempting to sow doubt in the prosecution against Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.

Azzopardi, blogger Manuel Delia, NGO Repubblika and news sites Newsbook, Net News, Lovin Malta and TVM were all targeted with fake e-mail chains and spoofed websites.

 

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