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I have a good friend who I attended university with in the past. (in the US) I happened to get to know that they were having some money troubles, and I wanted to provide some assistance as a gift, but I would rather they not know it was me, to avoid any change in our relationship. The amount would be in the ballpark of $1000.

The problem is that I only know the following information:

-Their full name
-Their email
-Their approximate city/location (not full address)
-The universities they attended

Is there any way to send the money knowing only this information?

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    Ask them for their address, so you can send them a gift or a greeting card. Actually send them a gift or a greeting card. Then use a money order to send the money. – prl Jan 2 at 1:32
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    Spend at least a few minutes to consider whether sending your friend money anonymously may make their life needlessly complicated. They'll have to worry if it's a scam of some sort, or possibly from an illegal source. – Charles E. Grant Jan 2 at 2:41
  • Also, consider whether your friend would want such a gift, especially if you feel the need to make it anonymously. Did you hear about the problems directly from him, or from a 3rd party? I'd be more than a little upset if some anonymous donor apparently knew about something I considered a private matter. – chepner Jan 3 at 18:27
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The biggest issue is that you have to get money to them while not looking like a scammer. If you send them a check they may think it is a scam. If you try a money order or gift card the risks are even greater. Once you send them a money order or gift cards the money is gone, and they may just trash the cards and never use them.

Leverage the method you used to learn that they were having an issue. If that is a friend of theirs then work with their friend to get them the money. If they are not comfortable being a go between, then maybe they can recommend a charity or church in their area to facilitate the transfer. If the charity meets with them in person, then the tendency to distrust money sent from anonymous source can be reduced. They can also give the the gift in cash even if you send the money electronically to the church.

If the source of the information can't approach the family because they violated a trust to let you know of the situation, you have a much harder task. It might still be able to find a local charity, but you risk exposing the source of the information. Even just calling them up and telling them you will be sending money may expose your source.

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The Give Initiative appears to be a 501(c)(3) charity that, among other things, forwards anonymous gifts. Presumably, they're sufficiently experienced at doing this to ensure the recipient knows that it's a real gift.

Note that I know nothing about them and would suggest that you do some investigation prior to sending them any money. Their tax filings do seem to be up-to-date and they report handling less than $50,000 per year. So it's a very small charity.

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With only email; you can send it via PayPal. Ofcourse they may not be registered on PayPal; may ignore the link to register and get the money.

Get the Postal address and send Money order / Gift Cards.

  • Would you deposit a money order you received from an anonymous source? It could be stolen. It could be fake. It could be the proceeds of something illegal. – David Schwartz Jan 3 at 9:45

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