What to do if you found money on the street?

Written by aaron gingold | 13/05/2017
What to do if you found money on the street?
It depends on the sum of money and where it was found (Burke/Triolo Productions/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

It may be your dream to walk down the street and find money. Some people make this a sort of hobby, always looking down for notes or change. In the past, people have come across incredible sums of money just laying around. USA Today reported that a 75-year-old woman returned £65,000 she found in a Cracker -Barrel restaurant near her home in Tennessee. The question of what to do with found money is a difficult one to answer. Laws vary from to state to state and across counties.


What to do if you found money on the street?
If you can identify the owner then you must return the money to avoid it being considered theft (Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Every state has laws requiring the return of money or property if the owner is recognisable. This means that if you found money in a wallet you must return it; otherwise it is theft. The same goes for a bank bag that might have fallen off an armoured truck. If you can locate the owner, you must return the money to its rightful owner or to the police. If you choose to keep found money when you know who the rightful owner is, it would be considered theft.

Keeping Found Money

What to do if you found money on the street?
Leave the money at a police station along with your contact details (Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

If you find money on the street that cannot be identified as anyone's property, you should go to your local police department and turn in the sum while giving the department your information. Laws vary from county to county, but in every state your find will become yours if it is not claimed within a certain amount of time.

Small Amounts

What to do if you found money on the street?
Small sums of money can be kept if the owner cannot be identified (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

If you happen to come across a small amount of money on the street it is not necessary to take it to the police. Police departments will turn you away if you come in with five, 10 or 20 pounds you found on the street. It is just not worth the time of the officer to fill out paperwork for such a claim. Now, if you find this money and someone is walking around looking for it, it is illegal to simply take it and walk away, or to lie to them and say you have not seen it.

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