Why next of kin emails are always fake

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Gentle Giant

Giant Admin for a Day
Staff member
Assuming that you actually get here to this part, here's some reasons that next of kin emails are fake, aside from the fact that they are ALWAYS a scam.

The next of kin scam is a form of the so-called "Advanced fee fraud". You would keep paying money for a bunch of fake documents and so on that will cost you money but you will never get that money from the deceased person or the banker or lawyer.

If you have read about how to identify a scam email (which is here) then in addition to things like bad grammar, poor spelling, even poorer punctuation, the use of free email servers, etc. these are some other things that make a next of kin scam format completely bogus.

1. You can never stand as next of kin to someone you are not related to.
This is a fact. Nothing that the "lawyer" or "banker" tells you will ever change that fact. If the person who sent you the email was an actual banker or lawyer s/he would know that anyway and wouldn't even be trying to do this. What you have is an email from a scammer/criminal. His only goal is to steal your money.

Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed. p. 1070) defines "next of kin" as either 1) the person or persons mostly closely related to the decedent by blood or affinity, and 2) an intestate's heirs--that is, the person or persons entitled to inherit personal property to a decedent who has not left a will.

What does that mean? It means there must be a blood relationship between you and the dead person. That mean you have to have a common ancestor, or some kind of biological relationship (adoption is ok). Affinity is the other type of relationship and that basically means you have to have an "in-law" relationship with the dead person. If you don't have one of these then forget it. You cannot ever stand as next of kin for someone you don't know. Not ever.

Money in a bank that belongs to someone who died is protected by banking laws in each country. If the account goes dormant (no activity) then that money is taken over by the government after a period of time, usually around 7 years. That means the government has an interest in the money because the government will get that money after 7 years and governments like to have money. They aren't going to let it go easily and certainly not to some lawyer proposing you as the next of kin for someone who died in plane crash or a car crash.

Bank accounts that are dormant are easily identified by the bank and banking laws and banking regulations govern how such accounts are to be dealt with. You can't hide a dormant account in a bank.

In short, it just can't be done. You can't be next of kin for some stranger. Not ever. Never.

2. A banker/lawyer told me I could.
Sorry, the person who told you that is not a banker or lawyer. He is a scammer/criminal. He just wants to steal your money.

3. A banker/lawyer in the UK said....
No he or she did not. No real UK lawyer would tell you that. You have an email from a scammer. (And in the U.K. they are called barristers or solicitors).

4. A banker/lawyer in Togo, Ghana, Nigeria, Benin etc. said....
This is humorous believe it it not. But seriously, when you get an email telling you that some person deposited millions of dollars in a bank in one of these countries it is always a scam. That's because people with money to deposit for safekeeping will put it in a bank that is safe and secure in a major banking center even if it's an offshore bank. Safe secure banking centers include London, New York, Zurich, Paris, and even the Cayman Islands. It does not include countries in west Africa. No offense to anyone who lives in those countries but such countries are usually not stable politically or economically and their banking systems are underdeveloped at best. Money likes safety and putting money in a west African bank is not safe.

5. A banker in Burkina Faso said...
I don't know if it's good news or not but this seems to be the only kind of scam that scammers in Burkina Faso know how to run. That's probably good news because if you get one then you know it's a scam.

Someone posted it somewhere else so I'll repeat the point. The United Nations ranks countries of the world on a human development index that ranges from the best (#1) to the lowest, which happens to be #177. Burkina Faso is ranked number 176. Unfortunately for them, life is pretty difficult there. Keep them in mind when/if you pray for things to get better in the world. If you add up the total money from all of the Burkina Faso scam formats we have posted here they would probably total more than Burkina Faso's annual national budget. If all of that money was floating around in banks in Burkina Faso, why is Burkina Faso not doing better economically? Simple, none of that money exists. It's just a scammer talking. There is no money for you. The best thing you can do is delete the email and forget it.

6. "We have had a lottery/raffle for our client's estate and you have won".
If #1 is not legal, having some kind of lottery/raffle draw for the estate of a deceased person is even more so. If they tell you that you have won something like this you can safely delete it as a scam because it simply isn't going to happen and it is NOT real.

7. My client/customer died without naming a next of kin...
I'm not sure where this idea came from. Maybe it's a scammer who uses too many drugs, maybe it's a scammer with an over-active imagination. I don't know, maybe this kind of nonsense actually happens in banks in a few countries, but if so, not legally. This is fiction, folks. In the real world even the greediest business person in the world knows and understands that he or she is mortal. No one who makes millions of dollars is going to leave it in a bank where no kin or friends can get to it. No real person is going to leave their hard-earned money to the government if they can help it. No one is gong to leave millions of dollars to some banker. It just doesn't happen. Not in the real world.

8. I was named a beneficiary in a will.
Great. Have you actually seen the will? If you have send us a copy because we can have people look at it to tell if it's a real will. But why would you be named as a beneficiary in a will? Do you actually know the person who died and left you money? What did you do yo deserve that money? People with money usually give it to someone who has done something useful for the person. And that doesn't mean carrying their bag at an airport or opening a car door or something like that. In Hollywood that happens. In Scamland it happens. In real life it does not. You can delete that email because it's a scam.

9. You are a complete stranger and I'm going to send $10 million to you and trust you to give me my share.
Yeah, that could happen. :rolleyes: I mean, I'd be happy to send you $10 million and I would completely trust you to give me half of it once you have all the money.

10. "Our client died in a ghostly car accident since 2000".
Despite the garbled grammar (and spelling) this is also a scam. In most countries there will be a statue of limitations which is a period of time in which legal action can be taken. After that, no action can be taken. It is usually, but not always, in the vicinity of seven years with deceased persons and their estates. That means that any money sitting around dormant in a bank account will be seized by the state after that limitation period runs out. Money will not sit in a bank account for decades without someone doing something about it. Delete the email. You can't get someone else's money just because you have the same last name.


Staff member
Many of the names of law firms, banks, lawyers, barristers, solicitors etc listed in this forum are fake. Others are real, and the scammer/criminals either abuse the names of legitimate persons or law firms, banks etc., or persons who may work for these firms. Scammers also invent names. All of the existing firms or banks whose names appear in this forum are VICTIMS of the criminals and are not connected in any way to the illegal activites committed by criminals in their name.

Gentle Giant

Giant Admin for a Day
Staff member
Just happened to think of yet another reason these are always fake emails. In the U.S., under the Uniform Probate Code, (section 2-103), when a person dies intestate then under subparagraph 2 the estate would pass to one or both of the decedent's [the dead person's] parents. If the parents aren't alive then under subparagraph 3 the estate would pass to "the descendants of the decedent's parents" by which they mean brothers or sisters of the dead person. Under subparagraph 4 the estate could even pass to grandparents. In short, unless the dead person is a complete and total orphan with no identifiable relative of any kind the estate will still pass to a relative of the decedent. Laws in most countries are probably similar. You just can't be the next of kin. Sorry folks.
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