After receiving the scam letter from the El Bordo bunch of lowlife scumbags I sent a report to the direction générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des fraudes (DGCCRF) and got a very nice letter back from them.
They are, of course, aware of this sort of attempted fraud although I'm not sure they had already received a complaint about the El Bordo bunch. Unfortunately, as the perpetrators operate in Spain, the French authorities are not able to pursue them and fling them into irons.
However, the European Commission has been invoked to get to grips with the situation, and you'll be delighted to hear that a group of scammy buggers were identified and rounded up in a fantastic coup. Were they Spanish nationals? Well no, they weren't. They were... wait for it... NIGERIANS. I can almost hear your sharp intake of breath.
Unfortunately for the honest law-abiding and lawfully employed nationals of Nigeria, the disreputable elements are doing much to sully the overall reputation of the whole nation. It's a great shame that such obvious creativity and industry is not put to less fraudulent use. Every time Nigeria is mentioned it's in the context of corruption, scams, violence or lawlessness.
My nice letter from the DGCCRF explained how the scam operates. The scammers send out about 15,000 hand-typed envelopes all over Europe and they reckon that if they get 20-30 replies the operation is financially worthwhile. When people contact them, the scammers assess their financial worth and then set about explaining that in order to liberate the money certain fees have to be paid, or an advance on taxes and so on. The amount of money scammed ranges from 900 to 24,000 euros per person.
That's some serious money and it's not surprising that the European authorities are on the warpath. So, if you receive a scam letter, don't just throw it away, send it to the police or fraud office to make them aware how such schemes are evolving.
And never EVER send cash to someone you don't know personally (by Western Union, Moneygram, etc.). You can be sure that you'll never see it again.