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I know I should be thankful for free money. But sometimes it might come from an undesirable source. Is there a way of preventing unwanted credits?

I suppose I could look at the block chain and pay it straight back...

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    Don't let the other party see your address. Keep it hidden. If there was any easy and simple way to prevent receiving coins we would have suppressed the "enjoy sochi" spam. – John T Feb 17 '14 at 7:52
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No, there is no way to block people sending you bitcoins. You could, however, send the bitcoins back to the sender. In fact, you can redeem the transaction output created by the sender in a new transaction, created by you, back to the sender. This would show that precisely these funds (not just funds to the same amount) were transferred back to the sender.

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    Sending coins back is NOT recommended. There is no guarantee that they still have their private key and then the coins would be lost forever. This is the reason why the Payment Protocol has a refund address. – Jannes Feb 17 '14 at 12:29
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    @jannes: If you didn't want the coins in the first place, what do you care whether the sender is able to redeem them or not? – Nate Eldredge Feb 18 '14 at 4:05
  • Because 10 minutes after you returned (potentially destroyed) them, someone is going to politely email you to apologize for the mistake and kindly asking you to refund it (to another address). Anyway, I'm just saying in general refunding should not be done to the sending address. It's also against the general best practice of never re-using the same address. – Jannes Feb 18 '14 at 17:28

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