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Found Wallet

View Poll Results
What would you do with a found wallet?
Take the money, leave the wallet. 1 1.59%
Take the money and the credit cards, leave the wallet. 0 0%
Take the entire wallet and keep. 0 0%
Ignore/leave the wallet. 0 0%
Mail the wallet to the person. 21 33.33%
Bring the wallet to the police. 31 49.21%
Drop the wallet off at the persons address - as per their drivers license. 20 31.75%
Something else? (Please describe) 12 19.05%

Found Wallet

This is a moral philosophy poll I wanted to ask regarding a specific situation and how people might handle it. It is a public vote and you may make multiple choices if that suits. I hope that making it public will give people pause as they consider their answer.

The situation is thus:
The Wallet DilemmaYou are by yourself, walking at night and happen upon a wallet lying on the sidewalk. There is no-one else around and on checking it you find it contains around two-hundred dollars, drivers license, other personal ID, credit cards, social security card, etc. etc.

What do you do?
I would encourage people to explain their reasons and also to please refrain from posting your judgements about peoples answers, though I welcome the opportunity to discuss the reasons why people would do what they do and also to hear peoples real-life experiences about this moral dilemma.

I would mail it to them. If there was a cost involved I would pay for it out of their money and ask for two copies of the receipt. One to go inside the envelope and another for my safe-keeping just in case.

Someone once did that for me. Well, that, and the art portfolio (and small computer case thing that held it all). Still don't know who returned it to me, but it represented more to me than a couple hundred bucks. And probably cost a lot more to send to me than a wallet would.

So... should the situation ever be reversed... I just couldn't justify anything else. Pay it forward and all that jazz.

On the other hand. Money that's laying by itself on the street? Totally free game for whomever snags it first.

When I found myself in a similar situation, I found out the owners telephone number and called them to inform her I found her belongings. I gave her my address, she drove here and picked it up. Of course, this is far more practical in a small country where it can't plausibly be more than a half-hour drive for the owner.

EDIT: That said, I don't think there was any money in it. That is to say, I didn't bother to check and the owner looked in one of the pockets right away and seemed disappointed, so I guess someone had taken option 1 already before me.

Call them up, inform them I found it (if it has a phone number inside anywhere) and then bundle it up and mail it on. A person's wallet is just like their purse or cell phone, in my opinion. We store so much information in there that is often very difficult to replace or downright impossible. The cash inside is the least of somebody's concerns these days, more than likely. Most people don't carry large sums of cash anymore, but the credit cards, certifications people carry, licenses, and all else means that when they get their wallet with all cash returned inside, they know that the person returning it was "a good person", so they won't worry so much about having their identity stolen or their credit cards saved for later usage. It's the peace of mind that will be most valuable to people, I would think.

Edit: Though my first reaction is to mail it to the address on the ID, as I think about it for another 10 seconds, I realized something: It is fairly common for people's address on their wallet to be out of date, at least around here. I've often picked up patients off the side of the road, and when bouncing their information from their ID off of them, they've told me how they moved years ago, and the license hasn't updated yet. Since NY licenses expire very infrequently, it's not an uncommon occurrence. Perhaps sending it forward to the cops would be best, as they would stand a better chance of tracking the person down. Though, knowing my own local police force and how relatively limited their resources are... I think I'd actually try to track them down on Facebook in the end. Try to find the name of the person online, match the picture to the picture on the ID, and then ask the person to verify the address on the license.

It would depends on where I found the wallet. If it was on public transport I'd hand it to the conductor/driver who would in turn let me know where the lost property was so I could hand it in there (presuming it was open).

If it was just on the street, I'd hand it to the nearest police officer or police station.

I once left a small zipper briefcase type thing on the train containing my course textbook, pad of paper, mechanical pencil, digital voice recorder, and calculator. I reported it to the station's lost property office because the train had just left the station by the time I realised and ran back to the platform.

Thankfully they got it back to the station's lost property office and I picked it up on the way back. Didn't have to pay for it either because the contents didn't come under any category they could justify charges for. That was very lucky.

Originally Posted by Carnas View Post
Thankfully they got it back to the station's lost property office and I picked it up on the way back. Didn't have to pay for it either because the contents didn't come under any category they could justify charges for. That was very lucky.
I'm confused? Would they charge you to give you your own stuff back? Or are you talking criminal charges? I mean, neither one really makes a ton of sense to me.

Depending on the kind of person it was (if I can tell anything from ID, condition and quality of wallet), I'd keep different amounts of money and track the guy down and give him his ID and the Reston his money. For example, if $200 is really important to the person, I wouldn't take a thing. If the person has a jewel encrusted wallet and wears a tux in his license photo, his ID and wallet will reach him, but not the money. I guess that makes me a thief?

take the money and mail it too the owner


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