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Police believe software was used to mimic City Hall phone calls

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 10. 2014 9:53PM

MANCHESTER — A top police detective said it appears that late-night calls supposedly originating from the mayor’s office last week were the result of spoofing software that can mimic a phone number on caller ID and other tracing systems.

There is no evidence to indicate that the mayor’s office was physically accessed overnight Thursday, said Manchester police Capt. Jim Flanagan, who oversees the detective division.

Flanagan said police started an investigation after two aldermen reported they received calls from the mayor’s office. He would not identify the two aldermen, but Flanagan said an adult male caller commented on their political position on city matters.

He said numerous spoofing software and computer applications are available to mimic a number.

“We believe it’s possible the mayor’s number was pirated by one of these (computer) applications,” Flanagan said.

On Monday, Mayor Ted Gatsas said he believed someone had gained access to his office through an electronic key fob. While Flanagan said police haven’t ruled anything out, they are leaning toward the spoofing explanation.

Police had no suspect as of Tuesday.

Flanagan said several laws could come into play, including those that regulate political advertising, harassment laws or identity fraud.

“We’re certainly handling this as a priority,” Flanagan said. “We don’t want our political process to be compromised in the city.”

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