Anonymous donor giving cash away through Twitter scavenger hunt

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By Scott Stump

An anonymous donor, known only by his Twitter handle, has tens of thousands of people in the Bay Area on the hunt for free cash. 

Communicating with reporters through email, the man behind the anonymous Twitter account @HiddenCash claims he is between 35 and 45 years old and has made millions from real estate deals. In what he terms a "social experiment," he plans to give away upwards of $1,000 a day by hiding cash around the streets of San Francisco and leaving clues to its location on Twitter. 

New+drop:+This+is+the+view+from+behind+the+blue+railing.+Also+look+for+something+white+and+folded.+pic.twitter.com/k7ALKx5enc

—+Hidden+Cash+(@HiddenCash)+May+27,+2014+

Don't+worry,+paint+is+dry.+Between+a+happy+garden+and+a+green+wall+on+another+street+whose+name+evokes+citrus+(-ine).+pic.twitter.com/jLb2qJZApF

—+Hidden+Cash+(@HiddenCash)+May+27,+2014+

People like Miles Tokatz have scoured the city in search of envelopes full of $20 bills like the one Tokatz found under a San Francisco bar called "The Ramp." More than $5,000 has been collected so far by people in San Francisco. Wads of cash have been found stuck to trees, taped to parking meters and hidden under a park bench. The Twitter account already has more than 120,000 followers since being created on May 22. 

Thanks+@HiddenCash+pic.twitter.com/3rz29DGwXU

—+Tokatz+(@juxedposition)+May+26,+2014+

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@HiddenCash+Next+happy+hour+round+is+on+me,+thanks+@HiddenCash!+pic.twitter.com/fzrqM7p0BO

—+Atticus+Grey+(@_Atticus)+May+27,+2014+

Thank+you+@HiddenCash+work+as+a+team+share+as+a+team+#positivevibes+#payitforward+@Decembrsveryown+@LJnotwitter+pic.twitter.com/XLGrIF7mh1

—+T.$ki+(@LastnameAficial)+May+27,+2014+

thanks+@HiddenCash,+sharing+most+of+it+with+other+beachgoers.+have+a+great+day!+pic.twitter.com/U5HDUTeQDT

—+Forrest+Hanson+(@gumplr)+May+26,+2014+


"I'm sure right now there's people glued to their phone like, 'All right, when is he going to strike next?''' Tokatz told TODAY's Miguel Almaguer. 

The anonymous donor and self-proclaimed millionaire says he wants to promote acts of kindness. He says the giveaways will continue for the foreseeable future, with a drop planned for San Jose on Wednesday. Los Angeles and New York are also on the list for future hidden cash drops.

The @HiddenCash donor isn't the first to try the experiment, as a group called "Plenty of Twenties" has been stashing $20 a day in various locations around Boston since September of 2011 by giving out clues on Twitter and Facebook. 

San+Jose+drops+in+the+morning.+Showing+the+South+Bay+some+love+and+cash.

—+Hidden+Cash+(@HiddenCash)+May+28,+2014+

The money given out by @HiddenCash is not life-changing, but it's put smiles on the faces of people like Brian Seward, who found his envelope of cash stuck to a railing at Pier 39 in San Francisco, and Tokatz, who found $100. 

"If a guy wants to run around and put money away, that's his prerogative,'' Tokatz said. "I found $100. I'm going to have a good time with it." 

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter and Google+