What should you do if you find money on the ground?


#1

What should you do if you find money on the ground? What if the money was a significant sum or an insignificant sum? My opinion is that if it is an insignificant sum such a $1 then you should ask those nearby if they dropped it and if someone claims it then give it to them obviously but if no one claims it then you should keep it. If it is a significant sum then you should take it to the police department so that way someone can claim it.


#2

My little girl collects the “insignificant” sums she finds on the street and in parking lots - pennies, dimes, etc. and donates them to the Comboni Missions to feed “her” kids in Africa. She calls it “Change the Poor” because the change does change the lives of the kids. I think it’s a great idea.

If it were a more substantial amount and a rightful owner could be identified, I’d turn it in (like when you find someone’s wallet). But if you find a $20 and no one is around, how would you know who to give it to?


#3

[quote="Suslar, post:2, topic:344719"]
My little girl collects the "insignificant" sums she finds on the street and in parking lots - pennies, dimes, etc. and donates them to the Comboni Missions to feed "her" kids in Africa.

[/quote]

Daaaaw.

If you find money on the ground I'd just keep it. It's not like you have any way of returning it. I found 20 bucks recently. I used it to buy an Essence of Beauty exfoliating sponge & bodywash. I mean, I used it to buy a hunting knife.


#4

I found a nice stainless chain with a cross on it today in Walmart, sitting on the shelf next to the Frosted Flakes. I pointed it out to my daughter we both walked away and left it there.

It is not your money. What if someone came back looking for that $20 five minutes after you picked it up and walked away with it? God is going to ask you why you kept something that you didn't earn and wasn't yours.

Don't touch something that isn't yours. That was my mother's good advice.

-Tim-


#5

If it’s loose change, I keep it. A while back, my Mom got my younger sister and I a jar to put all of our found money/change in. We found almost $20 in change one year!

I found $20 outside of a military exchange back in May, I believe, and I told my Mom. She told me to pick it up, and what we always do is we go to customer service, leave our name and phone number, and say we found money, but never specifying how much. The reason why we never say the amount is because we worry that the person who takes our information will call with the amount of money found, and claim it, or they’ll give the information to someone else. So, if someone doesn’t call and claim it within 30 days, we get to keep the money found. I used it to buy ice cream for my family, as I didn’t want to keep it for myself.


#6

I found $100 bill in the road outside my house one time. I went around to the neighbors near by and asked them if they had lost anything valuable recently. No one indicated any loss. I didn’t ask them if they had lost money because one of them might have guessed that it had been a significant sum and then guessed the correct amount. I finally gave the money to charity. I think it likely it was drug money, my neighberhood is that kind of neighberhood. No one in my neighberhood should have a $100 bill.

Linus2nd


#7

[quote="TimothyH, post:4, topic:344719"]
I found a nice stainless chain with a cross on it today in Walmart, sitting on the shelf next to the Frosted Flakes. I pointed it out to my daughter we both walked away and left it there.

It is not your money. What if someone came back looking for that $20 five minutes after you picked it up and walked away with it? God is going to ask you why you kept something that you didn't earn and wasn't yours.

Don't touch something that isn't yours. That was my mother's good advice.

-Tim-

[/quote]

One time my wife found $2000.00 rolled up in a rubber band. This was before the internet, so we checked the local newspaper for a while to see if somebody put an ad in about -but after a few weeks of nothing we spent it on stuff. I was probably 21 or 22 at the time.


#8

In a sense I can agree with just leaving it where it is just in case the person comes back to look for the money. However, who is to say that someone else won’t come by immediately after you leave and then takes the money for themselves? That’s why I think it is best to do as TheQuietSinger said she did. I would take it to the customer service desk, tell them that you found some money and leave your name and number with them but don’t tell them the amount of money. That way if someone lost it, they might be able to get it back. Also, if after a month had passed nobody had claimed it, I would spend the money. If the person who lost the money happened to call after that period of time (which I think is unlikely) then I would just tell them that I spent it but that I will give them an equivalent amount of money in return out of my pocket.


#9

Holly do I remember right from other posts that you are rather scrupulous ----- myself I have been dealing with the problem of scrupulosity for a long time now. Much better than I used to be I think....

In any case I have asked myself this too before. We here (this is in Swotzerland) have a law, I think if you find something worth 10 Fr or more, something like this, you aren't allowed to keep it. This goes for objects too (I guess you just have to estimate then ;-) ).

But still I ask myself about smaller amounts. (What helped a bit was that one time I was talking to a priest by the church about another problem I was having, and he saw a 50 Rappen (like 50 cents) piece on the ground and picked it up and gave it to me (he knew I had little money) with a smile. :)

Sometimes I ask myself:
If you find it in a store, should you give it to the store, because it was on their ground?
If you find it in a snack machine or ticket machine, does it belong to that company?

Once I got 5 SFr out of a photoprint machine and I actually, if I remember right, asked the company and they said just to keep it, if I didn't then the next person would. ;)

I think the same thing happened to me once in San Francisco, finding a 20 Dollar bill. I asked the people at the station where I found it, or even a police officer, I don't remember... and was told to keep it. I am not sure anymore though it was a long time ago.
I don't know if there is a law in the US about which value one is allowed to keep, by law?

I handed in a bill at a store once, where I knew the people (that was also in San Francisco); I was almost sure nobody would claim it (I think it was 10 bucks or something) and then they'd give it to me... when I got back there though I was told a young boy came back and asked about it :) :) :)
So in that case it had been right to turn it in. :)

But I am not sure what the rules are here really. Most people don't think about these things so much. ;)

Kathrin


#10

I remember hearing of a couple of cases here in the UK of large amounts of money being found - £10,000 and about £20,000 - one lot in a telephone booth and the other in a taxi. In both cases they were handed in to the police, and after some time of not being claimed [usually six months] the money went to the finder.

It is most likely that the persons who lost the lolly had illegally obtained it and were reluctant to face any intense questioning by the police. It may even be that the person who lost the money in the taxi was an Arab oil sheik and he didn't even miss what for him would be small change.


#11

Keeping money you find is theft. It does not belong to you and you know it does not belong to you. It should be handed in to the police.


#12

I assume you’re talking about larger amounts and not just coins?

Legally to qualify as theft it would have to be taken from a particular person, not just lifted off the ground when no one’s around. You can’t really accuse someone of ‘stealing’ from you when you abandoned your property (intentionally or not).

That being said, I agree it is wrong to play “finders keepers” with large amounts of money, which could well be the proceeds of crime or someone’s savings.

I handed in a wallet to the police station once. It had some money in it, although not a significant amount.


#13

I’ve been studying for the regulation section of the CPA exam (lots of contracts and legal stuff) and my study material recently touched very briefly on the subject of lost property (defined as something the owner involuntarily leaves behind). According to my book the “finder has title to the lost property which is valid against all parties except the true owner.” So, if you find it, you keep it until someone whom you are pretty sure is the original owner asks for it back. Of course, the book draws a distinction between lost property and mislaid property (defined as when the “owner voluntarily puts the property somewhere and forgets to take it”). In the case of mislaid property, the finder never does obtain the title to the property, which stays with the owner the entire time. Obviously, there is a bit of a grey area between the two and the finder cannot always be sure that the item was lost instead of mislaid, but in the example of the $20, it is really unlikely that anyone would lay $20 down anywhere (much less on the ground), do nothing with it and then just walk away. Common sense says that that $20 is most likely classified as lost. Congratulations, you found it and it’s yours now. Obviously, some state and local laws may vary, but this should be generally true.


#14

[quote="thequietsinger, post:5, topic:344719"]
If it's loose change, I keep it. A while back, my Mom got my younger sister and I a jar to put all of our found money/change in. We found almost $20 in change one year!

[/quote]

It's amazing how fast that change adds up!


#15

I know! It really surprised me, especially since about $10 was in pennies!


#16

I once found a $10 bill on the floor at the drugstore. I went to the pharmacy and told the pharmacist, and he said that a mentally handicapped woman had been frantically looking for it just moments earlier. She was so happy to have her money back and probably really needed it.


#17

I don't keep any money I find. Small coins go into the Mission box and when I found £10 in our street, I put a notice up saying I had found something of value and would return it (children had to be accompanied by a parent) if asked otherwise it would go to charity. No one claimed it, so it went to the Church. I was concerned that it could have belonged to a pensioner or someone on low income, so it least it went where it could benefit people.

The wage packet (full of cash with no name) was handed in the shop - it was just before Christmas and although I saw it fall out of a pocket, I couldn't reach the person.

I just can't keep money I find because God provides for me and for me, I feel wrongness about it.


#18

Large amount -one uses reasonable and I would say proportionate means to find the owner --like contact the police etc.

Small amount one still uses reasonable means - but they will end more quickly I would think -and there may not be any reasonable means for say a $5 bill blowing by you…


#19

It actually depends on the circumstances. If you find a bill on the street, there is no one around and you didn’t see that fell from anyone’s pocket then it would be ok to take it. If you find a wallet on the ground then you have either to take it to the police or return it to the owner. If you find a wallet on the ground and you don’t return it that would be larceny as it is pretty obvious that it doesn’t belong to you. The same thing if you find a briefcase with money, it should be taken to the police and not doing it may be either larceny, or (given that that is a technique used by criminals) you can be charged with receiving stolen goods. If you find something significant ( not pennies of course) inside a store, as others mentioned you should go to the manager as the rightful owner may come back looking for it. And every case depends on circumstances. Someone mentioned finding a good amount of money and going from door to door seeking from the owner. Those are reasonable steps to find the owner and hardly anything can be done after that so that is ok. But if instead would have been a wallet, pocketbook, briefcase, it should be taken to the police.


#20

:thumbsup::thumbsup: My daughter also found once at a restaurant a fifty dollar bill on a chair. The waiter was passing by and she said those people had just left so she ran into the parking lot to get them. She was able to get them in time and it belonged to a woman whose money apparently fell off her wallet. She was so happy and she said she wanted to buy a dessert for my daughter for being such an honest girl. My daughter ended up all proud of herself and the woman was so happy the whole thing really made my day.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.