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I am in the UK. I have won an online gaming competition in an extremely toxic international community. The prize is about $500. I do not wish to give any identifying details to this community. The prize giver is very understanding and is happy to transfer the money in whatever way I request. How can I receive this money without giving away my details?

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  • 18
    Sounds like a scam. Other than meeting in a dark alley with a ski mask, you can't.
    – littleadv
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 10:10
  • 22
    Maybe learn from scammers: bitcoin or gift cards. E.g. for an online gaming competition, steam/amazon/... gift cards sound reasonable, even for the tax man, but I don't know if it's legal.
    – Solarflare
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 10:21
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    So the prize giver is also among the people that should not get your real identity because they are part of the toxic community but at the same time they are very understanding and willing to transfer the money in whichever way you ask them to?
    – quarague
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 11:47
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    @quarague I don't think "toxic community" necessarily means "every single person there is the devil in person and wants bad things for everyone (or for the op)". It might just mean "the general behaviour and tone there is unfriendly (well, toxic), so I would not be sure that, if I ace or flame someone in a match next year, that they might not, in the heat of the moment, look up my info and (threatens to) send the police (or pizza) to my place". It's not unreasonable to assume that someone there agrees with this and is willing to help with the request of not leaking personal information.
    – Solarflare
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 12:08
  • 4
    @littleadv Nothing has to be delivered physically. There are many gift cards where the only thing you need is to type in a code on their website to purchase from them online, you don't need the physical card.
    – vsz
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 7:09

7 Answers 7

45

Paypal - it exists everywhere, and transfers to friends are free. If you have a Paypal account and feel uncomfortable with using it, you can make a trash email account somewhere, create a new Paypal account linked to that email, and have the prize giver transfer the money to that Paypal account. Once the money arrives, either transfer it to where you want it, or use it for online purchases until it runs out, at which point you close the Paypal account again.

Just use an email address like [email protected] - good luck to the community finding you.

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    Does PayPal actually allow opening multiple personal accounts? I saw one PayPal help page mentioning "you can have one personal and one business account", but not sure about opening multiple personal accounts.
    – justhalf
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 8:55
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    @justhalf: I'm not sure about that, but I think you can add more than one email address to an account, which might be sufficient (but do be very careful - it has a tendency to send from one of the addresses at random, so you might say "pay me at [email protected]", which works but then Paypal emails back a receipt from [email protected]...)
    – psmears
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 11:10
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    @justhalf I'm not sure exactly how "allowed" it is, but they do not let you change the nationality associated with a paypal account. The only way I've found to get around this (when it matters) is opening another account (and I've had both for a decade, but almost never use them), so it's at least tacitly accepted
    – llama
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 20:31
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    (@llama, at least partly) As you can set up an account on receipt of funds, you should be able to provide a new email address, receive the money into a new account, pass it on, then close the account - and it should be expected behaviour. If you want to link an account to withdraw, you might need to use a different account to the one they know about.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 12:49
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    @llama True, "You can have two PayPal accounts, so long as only one is a business account if you maintain residences in two countries." paypal.com/us/cshelp/article/…
    – JiK
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 20:52
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IMO, the best way is to set up a Wise account and create a virtual dollar receiving account through it. This not only assures privacy since the account is linked to Wise not you, but also efficiently deals with the costs of $->£ conversion at better rates than most alternatives.

You can then shut down the account after receiving the money.

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Cryptocurrency is the obvious answer. But if you aren't already set up for that, then you could get them to send cash-equivalent in the mail to somewhere that doesn't reveal your address.

Cash-equivalent includes:

  • cash
  • gift cards
  • a cheque or money order made out to "cash" or "bearer"

A mail destination that doesn't reveal your address includes:

  • a PO box
  • a friend's address
  • a friendly business' address

With most of these solutions you will lose the money if the letter gets stolen, but realistically that's not very likely, and if it happens you are no worse off than you were before.

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    Cryptocurrency is definately not the answer. The blockchain is designed to hold a record of all transactions forever. It's designed to be distributed and secure. It is not designed for anonymity.
    – Pieter B
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 13:48
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    "Cryptocurrency is the obvious answer" Citation needed - even if it is true, you're going to have to explain why.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 14:30
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    @Pieter It's far from easy to go from a random bitcoin (or other) address to an actual human being. It's doable sure, but it requires resources (and legal or malicious resources) that are out of reach for most people. Even without any additional trickeries simply cashing out your crypto in an exchange would be hard to track for random toxic gamers. If you have any resource for how that would easily be doable, I'd be interested.
    – Voo
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 14:33
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    @PieterB Connecting an address definitively to a person is very difficult. It is best described as pseudonomonous. Yes, the transaction is public, but you still don't know who it belongs to.
    – user26460
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 15:36
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    @PieterB There are cryptocurrencies out there (ie. Monero) whose blockchain is designed for anonymity as well: wallet addresses are undecipherable on either end of the transaction.
    – user19035
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 13:29
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Western Union offers a “pay without ID” option, which would allow the recipient to use a pseudonym (together with a test question and answer). The sender might still need to provide some ID. This is useful to send money to unbanked people who do not have a government ID (not uncommon in poorer countries in Africa or elsewhere).

Obviously, this can easily be abused so it's not allowed everywhere, there is a maximum amount (but $500 might be OK), and you might have to insist to get it. Western Union will also handle the currency exchange. I don't suppose their rates and fees are very attractive but I don't really know.

Compared to the other options like sending physical cash, it's fast and you get money in your own currency, with none of the complexity and liquidity issues of cryptocurrency but Western Union charges fees. I never checked but I imagine Moneygram (their main competitor) is similar.

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  • In most countries WU will require a gov ID to pay anyone any amount. Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 18:19
  • @QuoraFeans Do you have a list or source for that? I have come across explicit warnings from WU about specific countries like South Africa but not many. My direct experience is obviously limited to a few countries and I know for a fact it does exist. For the rest, I have no idea and “most countries” is a lot.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 22:31
  • besides Uganda, I see no country where WU accepts this no ID pickup. In their official page, they imply it's a general thing to bring your ID with you: westernunion.com/us/en/… In any case, each one should verify in their concrete country whether no ID pick-ups are an option. Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 1:19
  • @QuoraFeans But where are you looking? I couldn't find a list and Western Union website is pretty useless. I can tell you that I have used it for money transfer to the DRC so clearly, it's not so easy to tell where it will be accepted or not.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 1:32
  • And it absolutely is a general thing to bring your ID with you! By default, it's a hard requirement and WU won't disburse the money if the sender hasn't explicitly allowed pick-up without ID. So guidance for recipients will cover ID requirements in detail as they don't have a choice. That's also how I read the page you just linked to, not so much as an indication that the service is completely unavailable in the US.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 1:32
1

Gift card based on a code, so you don't have to physically receive it. You get the code through the same channel you already use to communicate.

Credit goes to comments who pointed that out, but it's not in any of the other answers, so...

With Paypal if you don't give your real info I would be afraid that they hold the money and refuse to give it to you, and if you give them your real name I would be afraid that they leak it to the sender.

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While most cryptocurrencies do use a public ledger through which you could in theory track receiver and sender, Monero is the exception as it was designed specifically for privacy. It's supported by many wallets (e.g. Cake wallet) and crypto exchanges (Binance, Kraken, ...) where it can be sold back for fiat currency.

Other than that, a 500$ gift card from e.g Amazon should also work.

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Venmo or zeile. Seems that either of these keep the transaction only between the two parties involved. Funds can be transferred to a bank account, or a debit card automatically. Kill the link after the transfer. Use a reloadable debit card, which are available at retail outlets and require less documentation.

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    If wikipedia is reliable, for Venmo "both the sender and receiver must live in the United States", for Zelle "[...] to another registered user's bank account (within the United States)". In this case the receiver is not in the United States, as it says in the first sentence of the question...
    – AakashM
    Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 10:09

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