Random Person Sent Me Money on PayPal (Why + What to Do)

In the age of technology and fraud that we live in, you always have to be cautious of possible scams and fraudulent activity.

If you recently received money from a random person, you should be wondering why you received it, where it came from, and what to do about it? I did some research, and this is what I discovered!

Why Did a Random Person Send me Money on PayPal In 2024?

If you receive money on PayPal from a person you don’t know, it could be a genuine accident or scam. Fortunately, you have a couple of options to solve this issue and protect yourself in 2024. You can issue a refund or reimburse them, contact them directly, wait 180 days to see what happens, or inform PayPal of the issue.

If you want to learn more about why you may have received money from a random person, and what to do about it, keep reading!

Why Have I Received Money from a Stranger on PayPal?

If you have received money on PayPal from a person you do not recognize, this is because it’s an accident or a potential scam.

Therefore, if it’s a genuine accident, they may have been trying to send money to another friend or family member, or for a good or service, and just typed in or clicked the wrong PayPal name.

Furthermore, there is not yet a scam that has been recognized for receiving money from random people for no reason.

Unfortunately, there are so many scams and new ones being created all the time, it could still be a scam attempt.

Moreover, common scams that are similar to receiving random payments are:

  • Advance Fee Scheme
  • Elder Fraud
  • Internet Fraud
  • Money Mules
  • Non-Delivery of Merchandise
  • Prime Bank Note Fraud
  • Etc

Additionally, the FBI has a list of names and descriptions for common scams.

If you think it could be a scam, you can go to the FBI’s website and search the list, and even report the activity if you feel it is necessary.

What If a Random Person Sends me Money on PayPal?

What If a Random Person Sends me Money on PayPal?

Fortunately, if someone you don’t know sends you money, you have a couple of options to solve the issue and protect yourself from fraud.

You can:

  • Issue a Refund, if the money was sent through goods and services
  • Reimburse them, if the money was sent through friends and family
  • Keep the money and wait 180 days to see if anyone disputes the charge or creates a claim
  • Try to contact the person who sent you the money, or
  • Report it to PayPal

First, depending on how you received the money, either through friends and family or goods and services, you can issue a refund or reimburse them.

Moreover, because goods and services payments are protected by PayPal’s Purchase Protection Program, you can issue a refund.

To issue a refund:

  1. First, log into your PayPal account
  2. Second, go to “Activity”
  3. Then, click “All Transactions”
  4. Next, find and select the payment you are refunding
  5. Following click “Issue a refund”
  6. Next, enter the amount you are refunding, it will be under “Total Refund Amount”
  7. Last, click “Issue Refund”

Unfortunately, because friends and family payments are not protected, you cannot get your money back through a refund, but you can be “reimbursed.”

However, if you reimburse a random person, you need to be extra careful.

Another option is to try directly contacting the person who sent you the money. However, this is a little bit more of a risk, as you never know what they could say or do.

Additionally, if you receive any emails from PayPal, make sure you check them thoroughly and don’t click any links.

Moreover, if you did receive a random payment, and then received an email, it could be the scammer trying to steal your information.

Furthermore, 180 days is the period PayPal allows for users to create disputes and claims. Therefore, you can keep the money for 180 days, and see if anyone creates a dispute or claim.

Moreover, if no one disputes or claims the money, then you can decide what you want to do with the money from there. However, you should be aware of the “Money Mules” scam.

Money Mules is when someone moves illegally acquired money for someone else, and unfortunately, you may not realize you are doing it.

Usually, for a Money Mule scam, the scammer is in contact with you and tells you where to move the money.

However, you never know, so be aware and be careful if you decide to spend the money.

Lastly, you can always contact PayPal and inform them of the issue, and report that it may be a potential scam.

Furthermore, if you report that there may be a potential scam, customer service will look into the issue and possibly suspend the suspected account.

Furthermore, to contact PayPal, you can go to the PayPal Contact Us page or call 1 (888) 221-1161. Additionally, you can forward any suspicious emails or texts to spoof@PayPal.com.

Additionally, if it truly was an accident and the person notices what they did, they will most likely try to cancel the payment if it is still pending, or contact you and ask you to refund them.

To know more, you can also read our posts on PayPal charged me twice, can you get scammed on PayPal, and PayPal complaints.


Receiving payments from random people you don’t know can be a potential scam and be dangerous, but it may also be a genuine accident.

So, to solve this issue, you can wait 180 days to see if the person creates a dispute or a claim, reimburse or refund their money, try directly contacting the person who sent you the money, or report it to PayPal.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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