In Light of the Princess Diana Lottery Bust: This Is What a Scam Looks Like, People


Four men have been busted and charged in New York with the oldest, possibly worst trick in the postmodern book: Email-spamming people that they’d won the “$5 Million Princess Diana Lottery.” Apparently some people were enticed, on the promise of Diana’s supposed millions, to give up their bank account info and even wire money to the scammers, losing $2 million overall. We got hold of an example email (versions of which, apparently, have been circulating for years). Consider this your PSA.

If you were planning on falling for such a thing, be forewarned. This also goes for anything you get from so-called Nigerian royalty. Also, um, let it be known that that email address is no longer working.

Via Hoax-Slayer:



Dear Sir/Madam,


We are highly delighted to inform you that you have been found to be a beneficiary of the Estates of Late Princess Diana, the Princess of Wales. Diana Frances Spencer was born on July 1, 1961 at Park House, the home her parents rented on the royal family’s estate at Sandringham. She died on August 31, 1997 when her new-found love affair with Emad “Dodi” Fayed, the son of billionaire businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed, was abruptly ended by a car accident in Paris while fleeing from paparazzi.

The Law Office of [NAME OF LAW FIRM REMOVED] represents a reputable law firm in London that is highly versed in the equitable administration of wills & estates for more than 27 years. Unsurprisingly, we are the executors of the great estate of Princess Diana and the undisputable managers of this lottery promotion.

In the announcement of the lucky winners for the prestigious PRINCESS DIANA UNIVERSAL PROMO for this year, your email address was attached to ticket number 13-2316-5086-477; with serial number A025-09 drew the lucky numbers: 37-13-34-85-56-87 Bonus Ball which subsequently won you the lottery in the 2nd category {match5 plus bonus}. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of $3 Million USD (Three Million US Dollars) in cash credited to file REF NO. PDUP/67 AO916520567. This is from the yearly royalty received from the British Parliament in furtherance of the objectives of the foundation as was laid down by late Princess Diana in her WILL. Since your winning is in category A, the bank that will pay the winners in this category is based in the United States of America.

All participants were selected through a computer-generated ballot system drawn from 100,000 companies/individuals from Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, America, Asia, Europe and North America as part of our International Charity Program, which is conducted annually.

Your fund is now deposited with a financial institution in the USA waiting for your feedback to commence the transfer process. Due to the mix up of some numbers and names, we advise you to keep your winning information confidential until your claim is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by some disgruntled participants of this program. Other numerous charity promotions that we currently execute can be found by clicking on this link; [LINK REMOVED]

In order to update your file and refer you to the paying bank in USA, we shall require the followings from you;

Your full names & address
Your telephone & fax numbers
Date of Birth
Your occupation/business
Your business address

Marital Status

At this juncture, we finally congratulate and welcome you into the happy union of the friends and well-wishers of late Princess Diana, a woman of distinction, who whether in good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness.

Thanks for your anticipated cooperation.



What, no crown? No promise of marriage to Prince William? Also, we find that last bit about warmth and kindness particularly ironic. But on the plus side, things are spelled pretty much okay. Still — never believe someone wants to give you money. Never believe you’re related to royalty. And never believe anyone named “Esq.”

The men face up to 30 years in prison.