Security company Sophos is warning computer users to be wary of a new e-mail scam which tries to dupe innocent people into believing they are the beneficiaries of the late Sir Denis Thatcher's last will and testament.
The aim of the scam however is to steal computer users’ identity and make a profit.
The e-mail, which claims to come from the attorneys of the ex-prime minister's late husband, claims that the recipient will receive £950,000 in compensation for work they have done helping the less-privileged.
The e-mail claims that Thatcher collected the money during his long and successful career in business.
In order to obtain the inheritance, recipients are asked to provide personal information such as documents of identification, address, telephone and fax numbers, in accordance with the UK government's inheritance law.
But users who innocently send their personal details may have their identity stolen, together with money taken from their bank accounts.
"Scammers are constantly trying to dupe computer users into divulging sensitive information with the promise of big money," said Graham Cluley, Sophos senior technology consultant. "Using the late Sir Denis Thatcher's name is a sick trick designed to entice the
unwary into falling for the scam."
This e-mail con-trick is the latest of many so-called “419 scams”. These scams are named after the relevant section of the Nigerian penal code, a country where many of the first scams originated.
Other examples of 419 e-mail scams include a message claiming to come from a persecuted widow of the late Nigerian head of state, an associate of the massacred Nepalese royal family, and even an African astronaut stranded on the Mir spacestation.
A copy of the Sir Denis scam can be found at: http://www.sophos.com/virusinfo/hoaxes/thatcher.html