I recently received an email stating that a fellow from the United Kingdom sent me money via Paypal, a fairly modest sum of 16 pounds (about $21 American). The email address is slightly off (missing a period, but GMail considers it the same) and I don't recognize the name. I've sent the email to Paypal to ask if it's a scam, and I've tried contacting the person who sent the money, but I've received no response. Things look pretty valid in that all of the URLs are correct and, once I added that email as an email on my Paypal account (without the period), it shows a pending transfer.

The transfer is due to time out at the beginning of September and, unless I get confirmation from the sender that he intended to send me money, I'm probably going to cancel it so that he can get his money back, but it did occur to me that there has to be some risk to accepting money sent freely like this. What might I be missing?

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    Did you provide goods or services to this person? If not then why not just cancel the transaction now?
    – Pete B.
    Aug 8 '16 at 12:17
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    There's always the possibility that I just don't remember setting this up. Nonetheless, my plan is indeed to cancel it if I don't get confirmation that he meant to send the money to me. Aug 8 '16 at 12:19

I doubt it's a scam. It would be extremely difficult (if not impossible) to pay someone money using PayPal and end up getting more than you paid back. PayPal doesn't have the concept of "pulling" money without the owner of the account signing up for a subscription. Otherwise the owner must "push" the payment to the recipient.

So, it is very likely that someone simply mistyped an email address which happens to be an alias of yours (since the periods are optional in gmail addresses). As for what to do, I think you've already done the right thing by contacting both PayPal and the sender.

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