If you find money...


Jul 11, 2001
I've found money, who hasn't? A dime here, a nickel there, a quarter, a dollar. A few bigger bills. I even spotted (and pocketed) a 50 dollar bill a few decades ago riding my bike on city streets.

Now, I'm the kind of guy who if he finds something and knows who it belongs to will give it back to that person. But when I find money I usually have no way of finding out who lost it so I just count it as my good luck. "Finders keepers losers weepers."

However, if I were to find a large sum of money, say an envelope with $1000 in it, that would be different. I suppose I'd contact the police, or if in an establishment, contact the administrators and let them know.

Question: If I turn a big sum of found money over to the police and nobody claims it, does it become mine?


Diamond Member
Jan 1, 2005
I think it depends on local laws, but generally if nobody claims it after a certain period the police can/will give it to you.


Diamond Member
Nov 17, 2019
There is a process. Sometimes it goes to the finder, sometimes not. Check local laws and policies.

There was a time when I wouldn't have thought twice about keeping a grand. But these days with many places recording serial numbers on bills, it's easier for them to claim it.


Oct 20, 2003
There was a time when I wouldn't have thought twice about keeping a grand. But these days with many places recording serial numbers on bills, it's easier for them to claim it.

Unless you're talking about sequentially numbered 100's from an FBI bank robbery sting I doubt this would be a problem.


Jul 20, 2003
I found a 10 dollar roll of quarters on the ground at the gas station the other day. I gave it to the girl behind the counter, either someone will come claim it or she gets a tip. I'd do the same with any other money I found. I'd donate it to charity or give it as a tip if the owner can't be found.
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No Lifer
Jul 15, 2003
I leave it where I find it.
No telling what kind of psychotic asshole would stab me for a ten dollar bill.
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Iron Woode

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 10, 1999
I found a wallet once when I was a little kid. I gave it to my father since he was a bank manager.

The most I ever found was a $20 on the ground after I interrupted some guy banging his whore on my boss's trunk lid out in our parking lot one night. I kept the "whore" money as a tip.


EDIT: I found the post from 2003:

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Golden Member
Dec 12, 2010
Coupla weeks ago I see a wire deposit of $11K + in my checking account. Happy as I were to buy a new toy, the strangeness of it all got the better of me ( drug money, deceased relative ?? ) so I called the bank .The first thing it asked was " are you expecting a transfer ?" I himed and hawed suggesting "maybe" and a day later the money was gone.
I called the bank and was told it receives thousands of these transfers daily and depositing to them to the correct account can be a problem. The agent was relieved I was not contesting the reversal.
Hello ! Three days later, there she was again, $11K+ from a wire transfer. Damn if I didn't stare at the screen for a long time, debating the law of theft and toys and everything. Then it was gone .
So now I am thinking, what shall I do if it happens again ? I mean they been alerted to the possibility of error in my favour but transferred the money anyway, so my exposure has been reduced, eh ? So toy or not IF it happens again ? I'm mindful of the laws of theft but are there other obligations vis a vis the bank ?

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
Found $20 in an ATM once. Person was long gone and good luck trying to figure out who it belongs to. I felt bad but I kept it.

I would not be surprised if that's what happens if you bring cash to the cops. If nobody claims it in a week they probably just keep it. For a large amount like $100+ I would probably keep it somewhere safe at home and keep an eye on social media if someone says they lost money and where, and if their story seems to line up I'd then approach them with it. If after like a year it has not been claimed I'd probably just donate it to local charity or something. If it's a wallet or anything that has identifying information then that's different, probably can bring it to bank or cops and they'll find the person.
Nov 8, 2012
If I find a wallet I'll do what a can to try and get it to the rightful owner based on the information I have. I don't always trust handing things off to the "person in charge" to do the right thing sometimes though such as... say... giving it to the bus-driver and hoping he turns it in to the correct lost/found.

If I find loose cash in the middle of nowhere, I would just pocket it.

If there are people around and I find cash I would respectfully ask folks around if they dropped it.


Golden Member
Sep 23, 2014
My wallet fell out of my back pocket in the toilet at work. I had a meeting and had to run to a building on the other side of our campus. I got a call that my wallet was found in the bathroom. Never knew it was gone. I had over a grand in it. Thought, great I’ll give the person that found it a $100. Well, no need, someone took the money and threw it under the sink where it was found. Where I work is in health care in an office with only key card access and very few men. Nice to work with honest folks. Nothing you can do, but boy I was pissed. I watched every guy who was at work if they suddenly had something new. No such luck. I would not do that, as I know the feeling when it happens to you. Have never pickup up anything and always returned anything I found. Remembering this still irritates me. The money is not a big deal, but the violation, intrusion and dishonesty really disappoints me.


May 30, 2000
Most I've found was $100 in the mall by me. I felt bad because it was Xmas time, but that didn't last long.


Diamond Member
Jan 28, 2000
Technically you're supposed to turn it into the police. However if its cash with no identification you're probably just giving them the money permanently. I found a wallet with a TON of money in it once at a movie theatre. Probably most of someone's paycheck. I turned it in at the front desk. I always regretted that a bit as who knows if the teenagers running the place were as honest. Should have looked up the person with their ID.