Sam Curry, a self-described hacker, says he was mysteriously paid $249,999.99 by Google last month and had no idea why the tech giant simply handed over a quarter of a million dollars.
“It’s been a little over 3 weeks since Google randomly sent me $249,999 and I still haven’t heard anything on the support ticket. Is there a way we can contact @Google?” Curry tweeted on Tuesday with a screenshot of the transaction.
He added: “it’s okay if you don’t want it back…”
As a staff security engineer at Yuga Labs, Curry told NPR that he sometimes hunts bug bounties for companies like Google. That’s when people get paid to help companies and other organizations find vulnerabilities in their software.
But he says he couldn’t find a link between the search for bug bounties for Google and the sum deposited in his bank account.
The money was available for Curry to spend, but he said he was simply keeping it in case Google tried to get it back. He said if Google took too long to contact him, he might have to move the cash to a separate account to avoid paying taxes.
Ultimately, Curry surmised that Google probably accidentally paid him. Turns out he was right.
In a statement to NPR, a Google spokesperson said: “Our team recently made a payment to the wrong party as a result of human error. We appreciate the prompt communication from the affected partner and we are working to correct it.” .”
The company intended to recover the money, the spokesman said.
For his part, Curry said he was curious about how often something like this happens at Google and what systems the company has in place to check for similar errors.
As of Thursday afternoon, he said he still had the money in his account.