Watch out for emails from Pinochet's grandson

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Pinochet_0905General Pinochet, former military dictator of Chile, is the latest target of scammers’ emails asking for help moving undiscovered funds out of the country.

The emails, which arrive with the subject line “President of chile who died” claim to be sent by Captain Augusto Pinochet Molina, who was discharged from the Chilean army after making an unauthorised speech at his grandfather’s burial in December 2006.

The email also includes a link to a BBC news story about Pinochet’s funeral.

“Millions of scam emails like this are being sent to internet users every day, and it’s hard to believe that anyone falls for these confidence tricks. But sadly innocent people do put their finances in danger by corresponding with scammers such as this, and everyone with an email address should be on their guard,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “It’s time everybody learned not to believe everything they receive via email, but to take messages such as this with a pinch of salt.”

Several elements of the email are factually accurate.

“General Pinochet did die in December 2006, and his grandson was dismissed from the army after an incident at the funeral, but that doesn’t mean that people should believe everything else in the email and hand over personal information,” continued Cluley. “The best liars sprinkle their tales with truths to fool people into believing them. Internet users need to wise up to these kinds of tricks to prevent themselves from being suckered in and having their identity, and potentially finances, stolen.”

Will Head