Cartel thugs go phishing in Mexico: Fliers circulate with fake email to "denounce" Monterrey narcos

In Mexico, where violence seems to be escalating daily, the nation's National Defense Secretary today warned citizens of fake flyers distributed in narco-plagued Monterrey that invite concerned locals to "denounce" cartel activity by phoning or emailing in complaints.

It is unclear who is behind the apparent phishing attempt, but past efforts by residents to alert their neighbors of danger have led to retaliation by the cartels: kidnappings, torture, murder.

The fliers began appearing after the initiation of recent Army activities in Monterrey against the cartels, and list an email that does not belong to the Mexican military. The flyers include the phrase, "Your weapon [of self-defense] is [to make a] complaint", with the email (atencionpoblacioncivil = Attention, civil population, or citizens). The Mexican government does not use Hotmail for official communication, of course, but this might not be obvious to local folks who don't use the internet much.

Assuming one of the cartels is responsible for the fake government alert flyers, it wouldn't be the first time. Last year, one organization distributed phony alerts of a curfew for Monterrey residents. Alert observers noticed giveaways, though: lots of spelling errors, for starters.

More in Milenio, a Spanish-language news publication based in Mexico.