How to spot scams like "Next Of Kin" email scam

Also Known As: Next Of Kin scam email
Damage level: Medium

What kind of scam is "Next Of Kin"?

We have examined this email and determined that it is used to trick unsuspecting recipients into parting with their money in an inheritance scam. It offers to share the unclaimed funds of a supposedly deceased person. We also found that there are at least two versions of this scam email.

Next Of Kin email scam

More about the "Next Of Kin" scam email

This scam letter claims that a man named Manfred Hoffman died in a plane crash with nearly twenty million dollars in his bank account. It also says that only the sender of the letter (supposedly the account officer) and the deceased person know about this money.

The letter states that fifty percent would go to the "account officer" and forty percent to the recipient, with the condition that the remaining ten percent would be used for necessary expenses. The purpose of this scam email is to trick recipients into believing that they can split the money with the account officer if they agree to be presented as the next of kin of the person who owns the money.

Usually, scammers behind inheritance (and similar) scams aim to trick recipients into transferring money and (or) providing personal information. People who fall for such scams lose money and (or) encounter other issues. Thus, it is strongly recommended to mark such emails as spam and delete them.

Threat Summary:
Name Next Of Kin Email Scam
Threat Type Phishing, Scam, Social Engineering, Fraud
Fake Claim Unclaimed funds can be received from a bank account of another person
Disguise Letter from "account officer"
Symptoms Unauthorized online purchases, changed online account passwords, identity theft, illegal access of the computer.
Distribution methods Deceptive emails, rogue online pop-up ads, search engine poisoning techniques, misspelled domains.
Damage Loss of sensitive private information, monetary loss, identity theft.
Malware Removal (Windows)

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Similar scam emails in general

Usually, crooks behind scam emails pretend to be legitimate companies, organizations, or other entities, or real people. They aim to trick unsuspecting recipients into providing sensitive information or transferring money.

Examples of scam emails are "Mega Millions International Lottery", "DHL - Your Parcel Delivery Arrived Today", and "Contract Document". Threat actors also use email to deliver malware.

How do spam campaigns infect computers?

Threat actors behind emails used to distribute malware aim to lure recipients into opening attached files or links (or files downloaded via links). Most cybercriminals use malicious Microsoft Office, PDF documents, JavaScript files, executables, ISO files, and archives to deliver malware. Users infect computers when they download and execute malware by themselves.

How to avoid installation of malware?

Avoid opening attachments and links in irrelevant emails sent from unknown addresses. Double-check emails before opening their contents. Download programs (and files) from official websites and stores only. Do not trust advertisements on questionable pages.

Keep your computer updated. Always update and activate the installed software with tools provided by the official developers. If you've already opened malicious attachments, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows to automatically eliminate infiltrated malware.

Text presented in the "Next Of Kin" email letter:


From The Desk Of Mr
Alassane Bala Sakande,
Manager Audit Account Dept,
Bank Of Africa Ouagadougou

Good Day.

I am Mr.
Alassane Bala Sakande Manager Audit/Accounting Department BANK OF AFRICA
U.B.A Ouagadougou Burkina-Faso, I would like to know if this proposal
will be worthwhile for your acceptance have a Foreign Customer,
Manfred Hoffman from Germany who was an Investor, Crude Oil Merchant
and Federal Government Contractor, he was a victim with Concord Air
Line, flight AF4590 killing 113 people crashed on 25 July 2000 near
Paris leaving a closing balance of eighteen Million five Hundred
Thousand United States Dollars ($18.500 000 ) in one of his Private US
dollar Account that was been managed by me as his Customer's Account

Base on my security report, these funds can be claimed without any
hitches as no one is aware of the funds and it's closing balance
except me and the customer who is (Now Deceased) therefore, I can
present you as the Next of Kin and we will work out the modalities for
the claiming of the funds in accordance with the law.

Now, if you are interested and really sure of your trustworthy,
Accountability and confidentiality on this transaction without
disappointment, you can contact me using my private email address:

Our sharing ratio will be 50% for me and 40% for you, While 10% will
be for the necessary expenses that might occur along the line.

I expect your reply
Alassane Bala Sakande.

Screenshot of another variant:

Next of kin email scam another variant

Text in this variant:

Subject: Greetings

Compliment of the season, My Name is Raymond Chiluwa, I have a very confidential Proposal that will benefit both of us, am auditor to my client who passed away after a brief illness leaving the sum of ($12.8 Million) without any next of kin and is a businessman. I have researched the account holder family living no trace of any beneficiary of any kind. The importance/role in this proposed deal is the fact that I have people who are well positioned and officially capable of leveraging a successful claim of the available fund, by presenting you as a beneficiary. We are equally capable of setting up the internal paperwork, as a basis to officially make it possible for you to be recognized as the bona-fide next of kin and beneficiary to the available fund, which of course, will be eventually split between us on terms to be agreed. The sharing of the fund is 50% for you while 50% for me. I'm very much intrested in the real estate business that has been my dream, as soon as this fund is released to you then you can direct me on how to invest in real estate. Please keep this very confidential for security reasons.
I look forward to hearing from you,

Yours truly,

Raymond Chiluwa

Yet another example of an email from this spam campaign:

Next of Kin email scam variant (2023-01-12)

Text presented within:

Subject: Business Proposal


Good day,
I am Adnan Menderes Yayla, Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President QNB Finansbank, Istanbul office Turkey. I am pleased to get across to you for a very urgent and profitable business proposal which I believe will profit the both of us after completion. I contacted you after going through your profile  that you might be capable of handling this business transaction without betrayal, There is this client of mine Mr. Roger Ian Wright a US businessman, founder of a Sao Paulo-based investment company and Owner of  ENGEN OIL AND GAS COMPANY LTD made a fixed deposit with my bank in January 2009 for 36 calendar months, valued at (US$ 67,500,000)Sixty Seven Million, Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars Only, The due date for this deposit contract was the 2nd of April 2012, Mr. Roger Ian Wright, his wife and his two children all died in a plane crash in Sao Paulo Brazil.
You can find below the links pertaining to this accident
All attempts to trace his next of kin were fruitless, My position here at my office requires me to investigate and provide the Next of Kin or Business Partner, I therefore made further investigations and discovered that Mr. Roger Ian Wright did not declare any next of kin or relation in all his official documents including his deposit documents in my bank, According to Turkish Law the money will be reverted to the ownership of the Turkish government after 12 years if nobody applies to claim the fund, To prevent this from happening I have decided to seek your assistance to have you stand as his Business Associate so that the said fund (US$ 67.5 Million USD) would be released in your name as the next of kin and paid into your account, All documents and proof that will have you claim this funds without stress will be forwarded to you upon your response to this mail.
Your immediate response will be appreciated.
Adnan Menderes Yayla
Chief Financial Officer & Executive
Vice President QNB Finansbank Turkey

Yet another example of an email from "Next Of Kin" spam campaign:

Next Of Kin email scam (2023-01-13)

Text presented within:

Subject:  Greetings,

Compliment of the season, My Name is John Pedro, I have a very confidential Proposal that will benefit both of us, am auditor to my client who passed away after a brief illness leaving the sum of ($12.8 Million) without any next of kin and is a businessman.

I have researched the account holder family living no trace of any beneficiary of any kind. The importance/role in this proposed deal is the fact that I have people who are well positioned and officially capable of leveraging a successful claim of the available fund, by presenting you as a beneficiary. We are equally capable of setting up the internal paperwork, as a basis to officially make it possible for you to be recognized as the bona-fide next of kin and beneficiary to the available fund, which of course, will be eventually split between us on terms to be agreed.

The sharing of the fund is 45% for you while 45% for me. and 10% to cover our expenses after the deal. I'm very much intrested in the real estate business that has been my dream, as soon as this fund is released to you then you can direct me on how to invest in real estate.
Please keep this absolutely confidential for security reasons and tell me if you are interested but I can assure you 100% risk free as I know how to go about it, I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours truly,

John Pedro

Yet another email from "Next Of Kin" spam campaign:

Next Of Kin email scam (2023-01-17)

Text presented within:




How are you doing?

I am  Mr. Doug Macpherson an external auditor of a reputable bank. In
one of our periodic audits, I discovered a dormant account, which has
not been operated for the past Five years. From my investigations and
confirmations, the owner of this account is a foreigner who died long
ago and since then nobody has done anything as regards the claiming of
this money because he has no family members who are aware of the
existence of neither the account nor the funds. I have secretly
discussed this matter with a top senior official here and we have agreed
to find a reliable foreign partner to deal with us although due to his
position he did not want to take an active part but as soon as you
follow my instructions everything will be successful because we
will be working hand in hand with him. With this purpose to do business
with you, standing in as the next of kin of these funds from the
deceased and after due legal processes have been followed the fund will
be released to your account without delay and we will use it for
investment and to assist the less privileged in the societies because if
we left the fund with the government it will be fortified for
nothing and will be used to suppress the poor masses in the society.

On receipt of your response, I will furnish you with more details as it
relates to this mutual benefit transaction. Do contact me immediately
whether or not you are interested in this deal. If you are not, it will
enable me to scout for another foreign Partner to carry out this deal.
But where you are interested, contact me URGENTLY for more details as
time is of the essence in this business.

Best Regards,

Doug Macpherson

Yet another example of an email from "Next Of Kin" spam campaign:

Next Of Kin email scam (2023-01-19)

Text presented within:

Subject: Awaiting Your Response.

Good Day,

Please be informed that your contact e-mail was extracted by my subordinate from social [business] foreign network record registry in quest for a business partner who could possibly be interested in the offer I am about to propose to you for consideration.  I am Russell Pierce, the International Relationships Manager at HSBC International Bank. I handle portfolios of high net-worth individuals (foreign investors) under HSBC management and have over 200 of these high net-worth investors attached to my portfolio whose Capital Investment Funds are being managed and administered by me.

I am contacting you in regards to a deceased client who died in an auto accident on the Madrid Highway in March 2015, he was a prominent client of mine. He happens to share the same last name with you. Before his death, my client deposited (22 Million USD) at the vault of a financial institution in Europe. Documentation regarding this transaction indicates that claims can only be made by his relative/family member.

All efforts that were made, revealed no link to any of his family members as he had no will. However, the New EU law of successions/claims/funds indicates a duration in which such claims can be tolerated. The financial institution has mandated me to present the next of kin or a relative who will claim the funds and failure to respond to this ultimatum will legally allow the financial institute to report these funds to the Central Bank of EU as unclaimed funds (Lack of supersede).

I and my colleague have put in place all necessary requirements concerning the release of the funds and it is my intention to introduce this opportunity to you as the beneficiary. Please note that I am legally equipped with all necessary information/documentation concerning these funds. Upon your decision of acceptance, I will process the release of these funds at a 50/50 split (you would be entitled to 50% of the said funds).

For security reasons, I have decided not to include more information into this letter, but as soon you respond, I will be able to inform you on how this could be concluded. It has been my wish to have an investment outside my country so, this is an opportunity for me to invest my share of these funds in your country.
In conclusion, it is my concern to call for your ultimate honesty, co-operation and confidentiality to enable us to conclude this transaction. I can assure you that this process will be executed under a legitimate arrangement that will legally protect you from any breech of law.

For time difference and confidential reasons, I strongly advise that you first make contact via email.

Best Regards,

Russell Pierce

International Relationships Manager
HSBC International Bank

Another example of an email from "Next Of Kin" spam campaign:

Next Of Kin spam email (2023-01-25)

Text presented within:

Subject: Hi

Dear sir and Madam

I am James Phillips personal assistant to Mark Stewart who is a financial advisor and former director BDO South Africa.  I write to you with regards to one of my late clients who left a huge amount in a private security and financial institution unclaimed.

The amount involved is USD$4,000.000.00. My client next of kin is very young and a girl who is looking for a foreign investor to assist her re-invests this fund into a lucrative business venture.

Your urgent response will enable me to give you more details on how this transaction will be finalized.

Yours truly,
James Phillips.
(Financial and Investment Advisor)

Another example of an email from "Next of Kin" spam campaign:

Next of Kin email scam (2023-01-25)

Text presented within:


My Dearest.

This is a blessing Notice

I am sure this mail would be coming to you as a surprise since we have
never met before and you would also be asking why I have decided to
choose you, Its a work of God for me to be able to locate you.

I'm Mrs. Mary louis, from London, a 76 years old widow with cancer. I
got your email ID from your country's guest book while looking for a
reliable person whom I can confide in, I want to share my personal
information with you. send you a letter of authorization to contact
the bank First inland bank Nigeria plc, so that they can transfer my
funds (10,000.000) ten million dollars to your account for the purpose
of helping the poor as indicated on my WILL.

To conclude with this bequest, please provide me with your Data to
fully which I will use to write a Letter of Authorization on your
behalf and send it to the bank as my new Next of Kin.

Full Names:
Physical address;
Direct telephone number

Note: Please I do not want you to thank me, same gesture was shown to
us, all I need you to do is, When you get this fund, use %15 for
yourself and the rest to assist the less privileged in your community
and country,this is the only way to immortalize us when I am gone.

Reply me through my Private Email: mary884902@gmail.com

Yours Faithfully
Mrs.Mary Louis
Cancer Centre: Christie Hospital NHS Trust
(Manchester, UK) North West of England

Another variant of "Next Of Kin" spam email:

Next Of Kin email scam (2023-01-26)

Text presented within:



Greetings to you.

Please do not view my plea as a contrived plot.My trusted family
attorney who would have executed my WILL & TESTAMENT on my behalf died
early this year after a brief illness.I therefore prayed fervently and
by the special grace of GOD,i was led to you.I am Mrs.Mary Louis,from
United Kingdom,I am 62 years old. I am suffering from cancer of the
lungs and it has affected part of my brain cells due to
complications.My condition is deteriorating and according to my
doctors I may not be alive in the next couple of months,unless there
is a divine intervention.

I was orphaned as a child and got married to late Engineer.Steve Louis
for twenty years without having an offspring.My late husband had
chronic cardiovascular condition and died of cardiac arrest few years
ago.Steve and I lived in Nigeria for over 18 years,where my husband a
petrochemical engineer by profession worked and rose through the ranks
and became an executive director in a multinational oil servicing and
exploration conglomerate, before his untimely death.He also
established huge private investments that i supervised before his
death and which forms the major source of our fortune.

Consequent upon the shocking demise of my priceless husband, I opted
as a rule, not to re-marry. When medical reports revealed that my
cancer ailment have become terminal & more so because i do not have a
direct next of kin to bequeath all that STEVE & I labored for,i sold
off all our choice assets,landed properties and other valuable family
treasures and deposited the proceeds amounting to USD$10,000,000.00
(TEN MILLION DOLLARS ONLY) with First Inland Bank of Nigeria plc. The
management of the bank has written me as the sole beneficiary of the
fund because of the unserviceable status of the fund over the years
and suggested to me in a 2 paragraph statement to issue a letter of
authorization to someone who can manage the fund on my behalf because
of my terminal illness and also threatened that the fund could be
confiscated upon my failure to adhere to their rules and regulations
as clearly spelt out in their code of conduct.

I am on admission at the intensive care unit of a London
hospital,located at Fulham road in west London United Kingdom. It is
the leading cancer treatment hospital in the world.I am currently
undergoing treatment there for late-stage terminal cancer of the
lungs. I am computer literate, I rarely talk but have my personal
laptop with me and have the permission of my physicians to use
it,hence I am writing from my sick bed in the (ICU).It is my last WISH
that 85% of this fund is invested substantially in any charitable
organization of your choice and administered as you may deem
fit,especially to the orphanage homes.You are at liberty to also
donate part of the funds to churches and mosques and also to fight for
CORONA-VIRUS.I have earmarked 5% of the total fund to run cost of
administration of WILL & TESTAMENT and also on logistics and other
sundry arrangements that you may require.

I crave your indulgence as a God fearing individual that equally has a
high moral pedestal and who is also an uncommon humanitarian that
cares so much about the plight of the less-privileged as much as I do,
to take it upon yourself and use this fund for the above mentioned
purposes. This is a painstaking decision I have taken in order to help
humanity in my little capacity as a people driven entrepreneur and a
very God fearing woman before I bow to God's sovereignty.

Note that as soon as I receive your reply and personal information as
listed below, I shall avail you with the official contact information
of the First Inland Bank plc officials,to enable you contact the Bank
without delays.I will also issue you with an official letter of
authorization,so that my bankers will recognize your status as the new
beneficiary of my ESTATE, FUND, WILL & TESTAMENT. Interestingly 10% of
the total sum is set aside as your compensation for accepting to play
this significant role for me and I hope you will appreciate my kind

Let me remind you that the fund has an open beneficiary mandate and as
such,it is whom i personally authorize or appoint to act on my behalf
that the bank will ultimately recognize and release the funds to and
by this memo,the onus has fallen on you to assume this selfless and
noble responsibility that will catalyze change by exploring and
promoting the development of new interventions that will benefit the
poorest of the poor when the fund is transferred into your bank

Please assure me that you will not treat this offer with levity but
will consciously yield my bequest continued existence.

Kindly send the information in this order:

(1) Your full names :============================= ======

(2) personal or official contact address:====================== =========

(3) Home or Office phone#:============Cellphone#: ==========Fax#:=======

(4) Your Age:===============

(5)Occupation:================ ===========

(6)Sex/Marital status:======================= =

I Await your kind response while hoping you will appreciate my
helpless predicament.

Reply me through my private email address: mary884902@gmail.com

May God bless your golden heart and soul.

Sincerely Yours,

Mrs.Mary Louis
(London Uk)

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Types of malicious emails:

Phishing email icon Phishing Emails

Most commonly, cybercriminals use deceptive emails to trick Internet users into giving away their sensitive private information, for example, login information for various online services, email accounts, or online banking information.

Such attacks are called phishing. In a phishing attack, cybercriminals usually send an email message with some popular service logo (for example, Microsoft, DHL, Amazon, Netflix), create urgency (wrong shipping address, expired password, etc.), and place a link which they hope their potential victims will click on.

After clicking the link presented in such email message, victims are redirected to a fake website that looks identical or extremely similar to the original one. Victims are then asked to enter their password, credit card details, or some other information that gets stolen by cybercriminals.

Email-virus icon Emails with Malicious Attachments

Another popular attack vector is email spam with malicious attachments that infect users' computers with malware. Malicious attachments usually carry trojans that are capable of stealing passwords, banking information, and other sensitive information.

In such attacks, cybercriminals' main goal is to trick their potential victims into opening an infected email attachment. To achieve this goal, email messages usually talk about recently received invoices, faxes, or voice messages.

If a potential victim falls for the lure and opens the attachment, their computers get infected, and cybercriminals can collect a lot of sensitive information.

While it's a more complicated method to steal personal information (spam filters and antivirus programs usually detect such attempts), if successful, cybercriminals can get a much wider array of data and can collect information for a long period of time.

Sextortion email icon Sextortion Emails

This is a type of phishing. In this case, users receive an email claiming that a cybercriminal could access the webcam of the potential victim and has a video recording of one's masturbation.

To get rid of the video, victims are asked to pay a ransom (usually using Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency). Nevertheless, all of these claims are false - users who receive such emails should ignore and delete them.

How to spot a malicious email?

While cyber criminals try to make their lure emails look trustworthy, here are some things that you should look for when trying to spot a phishing email:

  • Check the sender's ("from") email address: Hover your mouse over the "from" address and check if it's legitimate. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft, be sure to check if the email address is @microsoft.com and not something suspicious like @m1crosoft.com, @microsfot.com, @account-security-noreply.com, etc.
  • Check for generic greetings: If the greeting in the email is "Dear user", "Dear @youremail.com", "Dear valued customer", this should raise suspiciousness. Most commonly, companies call you by your name. Lack of this information could signal a phishing attempt.
  • Check the links in the email: Hover your mouse over the link presented in the email, if the link that appears seems suspicious, don't click it. For example, if you received an email from Microsoft and the link in the email shows that it will go to firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0... you shouldn't trust it. It's best not to click any links in the emails but to visit the company website that sent you the email in the first place.
  • Don't blindly trust email attachments: Most commonly, legitimate companies will ask you to log in to their website and to view any documents there; if you received an email with an attachment, it's a good idea to scan it with an antivirus application. Infected email attachments are a common attack vector used by cybercriminals.

To minimise the risk of opening phishing and malicious emails we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows

Example of a spam email:

Example of an email spam

What to do if you fell for an email scam?

  • If you clicked on a link in a phishing email and entered your password - be sure to change your password as soon as possible. Usually, cybercriminals collect stolen credentials and then sell them to other groups that use them for malicious purposes. If you change your password in a timely manner, there's a chance that criminals won't have enough time to do any damage.
  • If you entered your credit card information - contact your bank as soon as possible and explain the situation. There's a good chance that you will need to cancel your compromised credit card and get a new one.
  • If you see any signs of identity theft - you should immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission. This institution will collect information about your situation and create a personal recovery plan.
  • If you opened a malicious attachment - your computer is probably infected, you should scan it with a reputable antivirus application. For this purpose, we recommend using Combo Cleaner Antivirus for Windows.
  • Help other Internet users - report phishing emails to Anti-Phishing Working Group, FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, National Fraud Information Center and U.S. Department of Justice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why did I receive this email?

Scammers behind inheritance (and similar) scams sent the same letter to all recipients. Their emails are non-targeted.

I have provided my personal information when tricked by this email, what should I do?

If you have provided your credit card details, ID card information, social security number, or similar information, contact the corresponding authorities as soon as possible.

I have downloaded and opened a malicious file attached to an email, is my computer infected?

If you have opened an executable file, your computer is probably infected. In other cases (if you have opened a malicious MS Office document or other file but have not performed additional actions), you may have avoided having your computer infected.

I have sent cryptocurrency to the address presented in such email, can I get my money back?

No, crypto transactions are irreversible.

I have read the email but have not opened the attachment, is my computer infected?

No, emails cannot infect computers.

Will Combo Cleaner remove malware infections that were present in email attachment?

Combo Cleaner can detect almost all known malware infections. Thus, it will remove any detected malware. If a computer is infected with high-end malware, a computer should be scanned using a full system scan since high-end malware usually hides deep in the system.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

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