Hundreds of wallets & purses are lost daily containing personal and important articles of personal and professional use. If you find a lost wallet, it becomes your moral and ethical duty to track down the owner and return his or her items safely. But, as much as we wish to return a lost wallet to its rightful owner, it is not always an easy task. In this article, we are going to explore ways on how to return a lost wallet to its owner.
A wallet for someone can be special, like a gift from a loved one or something the person has been using for a really long time. People are emotionally attached to their wallets and the loss of it also has sentimental value.
If you have found a lost wallet and are aware of the valuables you are holding in, it should be returned to its owner ethically.
What to do with a found wallet? Short answer: Try to reach the owner through a driving license, ID card, or debit card found in the wallet. Use a security camera if present to know the owner of the wallet. If you couldn't find any clue about the owner, then call the police and leave the rest on their services. You can also drop it inside a mailbox for the national post to return it.
Returning a wallet to its owner is not so easy as it seems. A found wallet can cause certain difficulties for you, so it is necessary to follow appropriate methods to approach the owner.
For example, the owner can mistakenly or maliciously accuse you of misplacing his valuables. The found wallet may contain a lot of money, and that will be a big responsibility to return the wallet and its contents safely.
Different ways to return a found wallet
If you found a wallet and being an honest person, you are considering returning to the right person but are unsure how to go about it, there are a few methods you can try.
#1 Wait for the owner
The first way to return the wallet to its owner is to wait for the owner at the place where you found the wallet. If you are not super busy, then you should wait for the owner right at the same spot.
Most probably, the owner will come back searching for it. You will likely have to wait for a short period of time before the owner shows up as people normally realize a missing wallet very quickly.
If you don't want to wait around or busy otherwise, you can leave a short note telling the right person to contact you on phone or e-mail. E-mail is generally safe as you don't want your personal number to be out there.
#2 Find Contact Information
Whenever you find a lost wallet, the first thing you should do is to check the contents inside the wallet. Most wallets and purses contain a credit card, ID card, business card, or a driving license.
If you find any one of these, it will be a lot easier to return the wallet. If a driving license or other ID is present, then mail the wallet to the address mentioned on it.
If there are no card inside the wallet with postal addresses, but have credit or debit cards, you can contact the bank with the card information and they might be able to track down the owner using their card information stored in bank system.
#3 Drop the wallet inside a post box
You can drop the wallet inside a post box (ensure it belongs to a national post service like USPS for the USA). They will take care of it and will ship it for free to the right owner.
But, there is one catch. It will help if you prefer to mail it to the address yourself, as this free of charge method is very slow. Secondly, there is a chance someone can take out the cash or other valuables from the wallet during the return process. Trust yourself before you can trust someone else.
I once lost my wallet and got it back from the post. It had a reasonable amount of cash when I lost it, but I just received the cards back not even the wallet. Someone liked it and decided to keep it for himself.
#4 Contact the bank
As discussed above, in case there is no valid ID or address inside the wallet, you can use this method to find the contact info of the owner.
So all you have to do is call the banking company and inform them of the credit card numbers mentioned on the card. Most of the time, the bank contact info is written on the backside of the card.
They will most probably do not share the contact info with you. Instead, please give them your contact info and ask them to contact the owner to give you a call.
This is a great method to contact the owner so that he doesn't have to cancel all his credit cards and stuff which I have discussed in this article on what to do when you lose your wallet.
#5 Look for a security camera
Ok, so this not exactly a method you can do yourself but can ask the concerned security department to help.
If you find a wallet in a hospital, bank, shopping mall, hotel, or at any place where security cameras are present, this can be helpful. All you have to do is hand over the wallet at the front help desk, and they can take it from there.
Again, you need to do this if there is no valid ID or you don't want to spend too much time on the entire process of finding the owner or going to the post office to mail it.
#6 Return it to the nearest police station
You can also hand over the wallet at the nearest police station when you find a lost wallet. They can take it from there.
If a wallet ends up in the wrong hands, it can create legal complications for the owner. For example, someone can drop it at a robbery or crime scene to divert all of the investigations in the wrong direction. So handing it over to the police can save the owner from some trouble.
If there is a lot of cash inside the wallet, I will personally suggest making some effort to find the owner yourself so that you can be sure no one misplaced the valuables. Honesty is a rare trait.
What you should not do while returning the lost wallet
There are some things that you should avoid while looking for the owner of the wallet. These situations can cause misunderstandings and problems.
Posting on social media
Social media is a good thing to contact the world, and it provides you an opportunity to reach those you don't even know.
But in this case, you should not post it on social media because there are chances that someone else can claim to be the rightful owner of the wallet. Although you can figure it out by asking the details of the content inside, it will be an additional hassle.
Secondly, you will be revealing someone else's identity without his permission. I will strongly suggest avoiding sharing it on social media.
Handing over the wallet to a local shop or business
Don't hand the wallet to a nearby shop or local business hoping that they will take care of it, or the owner may come in search. A better option is to leave your name and phone number with them and ask them to contact you if someone comes to ask for it.
However, this does not apply to finding a wallet inside a store or restaurant. In that case, it is better to hand it over to them. These store owners or restaurants will probably return it as their reputation will be at stake.