In Chris Reynolds' case, it came in the form of an online Paypal statement.
The Philadelphia account executive was surprised to see that the the financial company had credited $92,233,720,368,547,800 to his account -- that's $92 quadrillion, a sum of money that would make him the richest man in the world.
"I'm just feeling like a million bucks," Reynolds told the Philadelphia Daily News. "At first I thought that I owed quadrillions. It was quite a big surprise."
Unfortunately, when Reynolds logged to his account, his balance read $0.
When asked what he'd do with $92 quadrillion, Reynolds called himself "a very responsible guy."
"I would pay the national debt down first," he said. "Then I would buy the Phillies, if I could get a great price."
"This is obviously an error and we appreciate that Mr. Reynolds understood this was the case," PayPal said in a statement to CNN.
By way of apology, the company offered to make a donation to the charity of Reynolds choice.