Security experts today warned of a new 419 fraud which poses as a communication from the grandson of the late General Pinochet, former military dictator of Chile.
The emails arrive with the subject line 'President of Chile who died' and claim to be sent by Captain Augusto Pinochet Molina.
Molina was discharged from the Chilean army after making an unauthorised speech at his grandfather's burial in December 2006.
According to the bogus emails, Captain Pinochet is seeking help to hide his family's fortunes from the authorities. The message includes a link to a BBC News story about General Pinochet's funeral in an attempt to add credibility to the story.
"Millions of scam emails like this are being sent to internet users every day, and it's hard to believe that anyone still falls for these confidence tricks," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.
"However, the trick of linking to high profile news sites like the BBC is sadly often enough to make people believe the scam and put their finances in danger by corresponding with the cyber-criminals.
"It is time everybody learned not to believe everything they receive via email, but to take messages such as this with a pinch of salt."
This email con-trick is the latest of many 419 scams, which are named after the relevant section of the Nigerian penal code where many of the scams originated.
They typically involve unsolicited emails offering a large amount of money. Once a victim has been drawn in, requests are made from the fraudster for private information which may lead to requests for money, stolen identities and financial theft.
Pinochet resurrected in 419 scam
By Robert Jaques on May 10, 2007 3:05PM