“So people – go right now – put a card with your phone number in your wallet and purse”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Lauren Parnell Marino

“Dear PoPville,

On Sat. morning I found a wallet in the Zipcar space beside my own parking space in the alley behind Irving St. Though stuffed full with cards, bits of paper, driver’s license, two credit cards and $600.00 in cash, there was no phone number for the owner.

My friends and I spent about 20 minutes playing Sherlock Holmes trying to track her down. There was a card with a work number, but just an answer machine on Sat. A Post-it with some scribbled numbers, (no answer or no one knew her.) Looked up the number for the apt. building listed on her driver’s license but there was no answer. Finally we called Capitol One and after much “press one for this, press two for that. . .” talked to a person and asked them to contact her.

She finally connected with us later that afternoon, after a whole morning of anxiety.

This is actually the third wallet I’ve found with no contact information for the owner! So people – go right now – put a card with your phone number in your wallet and purse.”

34 Comment

  • EXCELLENT ADVICE!! I’ve also been stymied trying to return wallets to people b/c they were hard to find.
    In case my wallet is taken by nefarious creeps who I don’t want having my phone number, I have an email address listed in mine (it’s a “fake” email that forwards to my actual email).

  • I’ll add that you should also have some sort of ICE contact on your phone that can be called without entering your passcode. Otherwise returning a phone can be a pain too.

  • You should also put the phone # for emergency contacts on the same card, just in case you get hit by a bus…

  • you should also right your name and phone number on the rim tape inside of your bicycle and if and when your bike gets stolen a shop would see the contact info and raise some eyebrows.

  • My best friend keeps my business cards that say “CALL IF FOUND” in her sunglass case, wallet, and purse. She figures if her cell phone is in her purse then calling her won’t necessarily be helpful, but calling ME will. #smartcookie

  • This is not good advice. You really don’t want people having both your credit card and your address. A much better strategy is to put an “if found please call” phone number–this will allow a well-meaning person to get in touch with you without making it even easier for someone else to use your credit cards.

    • Presumably your address is on your driver’s license.

    • But if they have your credit card, they presumably have your wallet and id and prob current address along with it.

    • This makes sense, but how do you actually accomplish it? My drivers license is in my wallet, right next to my credit cards, with my address on it….

    • Where are you reading that an address should be used and not a phone number??

    • Maybe I missed something but I didn’t see anything that suggested putting your address on the card, just your phone number? Also if they have my wallet, they have my license… which means they have my address anyway.

  • You are an awesome person for going through that much work to return that wallet. As someone who has had 2 wallets (in 10 years) mailed back to me I totally appreciate people’s hard work and honesty.

  • Call MPD. If you give them the name of the DL, they will be able to get a number.

    • Wait, how would MPD have my phone number? Do they have access to some kind of database? (Not being snarky, I’m honestly asking.)

    • Sadly, MPD is totally useless for this. Dont’ waste time trying. I have found 4 wallets, 3 stolen cars and 2 ipods in the past 5 years – returned through Craisgslist.

      • I can assure you…MPD can help in this situation. Call the CIC and they will refer you to the proper office.

      • I returned a wallet to MPD and left my number with them because they suggested it would be a nice thing to do so the person could thank me. Got a thank you call from the wallet owner less than 24 hours later. No idea whether MPD found the owner or if the owner proactively checked with MPD, but I guess it makes sense to check with MPD if you do lose your wallet.

  • Aglets

    i find credit cards dropped pretty often by my booth at Eastern Market on the weekends and I always call the bank issuing the card and they’re usually pretty good about calling the person and telling them where to find me for their card.

    • It didn’t occur to me that banks would do this. I found a credit card on the sidewalk a few months back, and after googling to try to find the owner, I couldn’t, and so I mailed it to the address on the back of the card, which may have said to send it there if lost. I included a note saying I’d found it on the street, so presumably they contacted the owner.

      This would also be good information for lost keys. I lost my main set of car and house keys, which I had with me when visiting a friend out of town, and I didn’t realize it because I had both of my sets with me, as my spare had the keys to my friend’s place on it. Days later, I got a call from my gym – presumably someone had found the keys in her town, who turned them into the police, who contacted my gym from the tag on my keychain, who then called me – thanks gym!

  • I once had to snail mail a postcard to an address listed on a worn, faded fishing license saying “I found something of yours, come to my business at xxx Blank Road to retrieve an important item you have lost”. It worked and the proper owner identified and claimed his wallet about a week after I mailed the post card.

  • Good on you – I need to do that for my wallet. I have a message on my Android lockscreen that says “If found please email xxxx or call [my alternate #])

  • Good idea! I just put a business card with my cell number in my wallet, and a business card inside my cellphone case. And thanks for going to so much trouble to return the lost wallet.

  • Yeah, I have to agree with the OP. On weekends I work at a luxury apartment building in near Meridian Hill Park. I’ve had so many situations where residents/guests have left their purses, cell phones and wallets in the lobby. It can be pretty hard to locate folks to return their belongings. Especially cell phones – because most of them lock and even if they ring I can’t answer them. Once there was a woman from South America visiting one of her daughters who lived in the building. I guess she was so excited to see her daughter that she left her purse with her wallet, credit cards, etc. on the floor in the lobby. I called one of her credit card providers and asked them to contact her. They said they couldn’t but that they would contact her son, who happened to be visiting with her. About 40 minutes later he came down and retrieved the purse. Happy reunion!

  • I found a purse/wallet in my trash a few months ago– I’m guessing it had been stolen. Tried my best to locate the owner through social media with no response. Should I just toss it now? Or try to mail it to the address on the California license?

  • good idea and i never thought of it, although i do have some biz cards in my wallet. i once left my wallet at a gas station and the person who found it looked me up on facebook and messaged me! facebook, helpful for once.

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