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My wallet came in the mail today.
Old 12-07-2007, 12:45 AM   #1
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My wallet came in the mail today.

On Sunday 25 Nov I dropped my wallet in the commissary parking lot at Schofield Barracks. This is an Army base where the majority of the occupants presumably embrace a higher ethical standard than the typical Wal-Mart parking lot or some parts of Kalihi.

It was also 8:30 AM, not a very busy time of day. I had the wallet in my lap as we parked the car, I was juggling the usual handful of stuff as we got out, and I didn't notice I'd dropped it until we were in the store. I promptly turned around and retraced my steps but it was gone. It was probably on the ground for less than 60 seconds.

I didn't even remember dropping it. I checked all my pockets and all of the car's nooks & crannies. I checked around the adjacent cars. The three of us searched the store's trash cans and planters. (Now I know why I carry work gloves in the car.) I left my phone number with the head cashier and a couple of the baggers. People were generally wondering if I was losing my marbles sympathetic but no one had seen anything.

My spouse remembered a couple behind us. She suspected that they'd seem me drop the wallet so she found them in the store and told them that her stupid husband had lost his wallet. She said we were notifying the police, she'd seen them enter the store behind us and would they mind helping with the investigation, if they'd seen anything could they please tell the head cashier, what a misfortune as the holidays approached, the money wasn't important but the license & military ID would be a huge hassle to replace, woe was me, etc. The woman said that they hadn't seen anything and was, well, sympathetic. The man was less responsive but spouse thought he had bad body language.

When we got home I pulled out my scan of the wallet's contents and made the usual calls. The credit-card companies said that no one had started a shopping spree but I went through the whole list anyway-- ATM card, two credit cards, two blank checks, our TRICARE cards, and a fraud alert with all three credit-reporting agencies. (The military helpfully puts our Social Security numbers on our IDs.) I also reported my ID to Schofield security in case it showed up in a terrorist incident. I even carried a spare house key so I re-keyed the lock.

Monday morning was fun. My spouse drove me to the license bureau (with my passport) for a replacement license, and I was petrified to let them see me use my reading glasses for fear that I'd have to go through the full license-exam process. Once I was street-legal we drove to the local Personnel Support Detachment and spent an hour waiting for a new military ID. Everything else is "in the mail"-- 11 days later I have one replacement credit card (Fidelity, whose FIA Card Services staff was outstanding) and new TRICARE cards. I'm still waiting on NFCU's ATM card and USAA's credit card.

Yesterday, 5 Dec, 10 days after I dropped it, my wallet was put in a yellow padded 6"x9" mailer and sent from a Honolulu ZIP code. It came in the mail today. No return address, of course, but they didn't have any trouble figuring out our address from my driver's license. The handwriting is neat & clean but I'm unable to decide if it's male or female.

No note or explanation. The cash is gone. Everything else is there-- military ID, credit cards, ATM card, blank checks, house key, and even the Home Depot gift card. As near as I can tell everything was in its original slots & places, although it could've been handled. I doubt I could interest the police in fingerprints or DNA electrophoresis of the saliva on the stamps...

I can't imagine why someone would return the wallet-- unless spouse made them feel guilty when she confronted them? And waiting 10 days was a nice touch-- just enough time for me to finish the replacement actions. I'd think that a professional would've thrown everything away after taking the cash, and a real expert would be auctioning the contents to identity-theft websites-- or at least selling the Home Depot card on Craigslist.

It could've been mailed by a Good Samaritan who wanted to remain anonymous (or a repentant amateur crook) but I've still filed the fraud alerts with the credit-reporting agencies.

Or maybe there's something else going on, and that's why I'm posting this. Anyone had this happen recently? Is there some sort of scam that involves returning a lost wallet? Is this an advanced form of identity theft? Anything else I'm missing?
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Old 12-07-2007, 01:45 AM   #2
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Well, as you pointed out, the contents may well have been handled and replaced, and for ID theft someone could have just copied all the cards. And by returning the wallet, the thief might hope to lull you into not changing your account numbers, etc. So even if you'd gotten it back in a couple days, I think it's appropriate to do the fraud alerts and stuff.

My personal long-shot theory: the guy is a closet klepto and his wife didn't know, but maybe she found the wallet later and sent it back in a fit of guilt.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:45 AM   #3
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I agree that since you'll probably never know the story, the theft alerts, etc., would have been appropriate even if the wallet had been returned more promptly.

Some guesses as to what happened......

Someone found it, took the cash and tossed the wallet. Another person found the cashless wallet and thought they'd do you a favor by sending it back but wanted to avoid any hassle by staying anonymous.

Someone found it, took the cash as a form of tax on you for losing your wallet, but mailed the rest to you to save you some hassle.

I live in dread of losing my wallet, especially while traveling. What a headache! Hope nothing further develops, such as identify theft, from your incident.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:48 AM   #4
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Something similar happened to me except I found the "shady" person about 2 hours later and mentioned I didn't care about the cash but only wanted my ID back...miraculously the wallet was "found" in the mens room less than 5 minutes later. Cash gone, ID, etc. intact.
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Old 12-07-2007, 05:09 AM   #5
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When I think about it I use a little cloth pouch you wear around your neck for the important stuff. Have not done it for some time except for traveling. Now that I have thought about it I will wear it for a while.

I lost my wallet in 1970 on the way to Alaska. We had left Chicago (Mom's place) en-route from an Army Base in Indiana. Stopped at a rest stop in MN, went to bathroom, and wallet fell out on floor in John. I did not realize it until we were far down the road and stopped for gas -- no wallet. DW always keeps the big cash in the car while traveling. So there we were 3 kids about 500 miles from home with about 6,000 more to go to Alaska. No Mil ID, No DL, No PP DW was not a US citizen yet (to be completed in court in Anchorage). Got to Canadian border at Vancouver, talked my way through customs and got into Canada. Got to US border with Canada and talked my way through. Biggest hassle came when we got to gate at Fort Richardson Alaska. Had to go to MP Station and have new CO come down and vouch for me. Called Mother to let her know were there she was VERY upset. The MN State Police had called her said they had the wallet and to give them our address. Make long story short - gave the State Police address, wallet and all contents INCLUDING CASH arrived in mail about 3 days later. Biggest nice thing to every happen to me in 50 years of traveling.
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Old 12-07-2007, 06:22 AM   #6
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Some thoughts.

Years ago I found a wallet in the street and walked it to the nearest police station. There was no cash in it, but it had multiple other IDs. I left my name with the cops. A few hours later the owner called me and wanted to know why I'd stolen their money. No good deed goes unpunished.

Perhaps someone found your wallet, took the cash and tossed it in a mailbox. The PO may just stick found wallets in an envelope and return them like your was. :confused:
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by figner View Post

My personal long-shot theory: the guy is a closet klepto and his wife didn't know, but maybe she found the wallet later and sent it back in a fit of guilt.
Guilt probably got the best of them. Could have been a kid that picked it up and mommy found the wallet and mailed it back. But if these 2 people were the ones you saw in the area, my guess the wife felt guilty and mailed it to you.
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:34 AM   #8
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Not quite the same, butÖ
On 2Jul04, I went to the gym, and contrary to my usual procedure had $80 or so in my wallet. After completing exercise, I returned to my locker to find that the lock had been cut by bolt cutters, my wallet had been rifled thru, and of course, the money was gone. All credit cards, driverís license, military id, etc remained in the locker. I suspected an inside job, but nothing was to come after reporting to the gym managers and the local police.

I put a freeze on my credit, because I suspected that it was a new type of delayed credit id theft, but to this day, nothing has happened. Needless to say, when I go to the gym (usually every day) I only take my drivers license. You canít leave it in your vehicle, cause they break into them, too, so I just leave everything home. On the rare occasion when I'm going out afterwards and need the credit card, my wallet stays in my pocket.


So, I think I was lucky. Someone must have entered the menís dressing room and the criminals had to hurry. Eighty bucks is a small price to pay for what could have been very painful.


In your case, it must have been amateurs who got cold feet after you confronted them. I know Schofield is huge, but who knows, you might get lucky and see them again. If you do, make sure you thank them.
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:48 AM   #9
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I've lost my wallet twice. Once I left it on my bumper after golfing. The police called me the next day and said someone had turned in my wallet. Everything but the money. I guess they figured it was a finder's fee. I wasn't surprised. I had already called in the credit cards but it saved me a DMV trip. And initially when I called in the card they said they had a charge from another state, but it turns out the gas station I had bought gas from earlier that day had mistyped their store ID when they ran the charge (this was 17 years ago).

Second time it was stolen out of my car that I had left unlocked after coming home from a trip. A neighbor called a couple days later, his little kids had found the wallet and a couple cards scattered in the woods behind his house. This time it was too late for everything.

It totally sucks that someone probably saw you drop your wallet and not say something.

Your wife is very observant!
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:00 AM   #10
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My humorous lost wallet story:

Several years ago after a ball game I found a wallet. Got home and got phone number and called the most appreciative guy who had lost it. He was going to come to my home but I said that would be a long trip for him and I suggested a shopping center which was a half way point. We agreed to meet in the parking lot. It was around 10:00pm when I arrived and only two cars were in the lot parked side by side. As I approached in my car I could tell a man was in one car, a woman in the other. When I was about 50 feet away, both cars sped away. Initially I was totally confused, then I realized it was a rendezvous. As I waited for lost wallet guy I knew I had scared the holy *&^% out of two people. Wallet guy showed, I gave him wallet and went home.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:12 AM   #11
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That's quite a story. I'm glad to hear you got all your cards back but, as you said, it would have been better if they had returned it before making you go through all the gyrations. Here's my thoughts.

I've lost my ID card about three times on base, at the gym or BX, and each time it's been picked up by someone and returned promptly to the front desk. Military people understand the importance of an ID card and will go out of their way to return it as soon as possible. I also think military members by and large are very honorable and would return the entire wallet promptly along with all contents.

The fact that it took so long for you to get your wallet, yet it had ID and credit cards but no cash, tells me it was probably picked up by someone not in the military or not closely related to a military member. My guess is that it got picked up by someone who was visiting, or some civilian working there, without the best morals but not a natural crook. They took the cash, hung onto the wallet wondering what to do with the cards, then either had regret or, more likely got scared that the Feds were on the case because of the ID card. At that point they mailed it to you and probably washed it of any fingerprints.

Glad they didn't go on a shopping spree.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:45 AM   #12
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Man I'm glad to hear that presumably effective ex-military engineers lose stuff: about three years ago we went down to Puerta Vallarta on a rare vacation. I've lost all shame as i've gotten older and was wearing really baggy shorts with huge pockets as we rode the bus up to Sayulita for a day trip. Great fun, lots of rubbernecking. We got to the little town and had walked about a block in when the realization struck me: no weight in the front pocket where the wallet had been, just loose flappy cloth. Rushed back to the bus and climbed aboard to search - no wallet. Talked with the bus drivers, no joy. Talked with an ex-pat selling trinkets, who directed us to the local judge (in a local little store - had something very wrong with his eyes a'la Guthrie's Blind Justice).
At that point I was done. The wallet was gone, we had searched the small areas i could have dropped it in, the authorities had been notified, I was screwed. Had left the passport in the hotel room in PV, but was carrying $600 in cash (Gee - don't trust the maid!). All ID to backup the passport was gone, we were in a foreign country, this was not going to be fun. Sayulita was pretty and there was a beach with a warm ocean - i went in the ocean. My Bulldog honey, however, does not go with the flow or take the slings and arrows lightly, so after a discussion on the merits of our respective personality differences she started combing that little town, pawing through trash cans, disturbing folks trying to relax over their beers, and after an hour or so, found... nothing. She came back to the beach and we were able to relax together and have a lovely time. Believe that? Are you in a relationship? I'm sure she had thoughts of flying home on her own and then mounting an extraction operation for me (at least i hope so, though she would have had full control of the assets...). Anyway, the sun went down, we had to run for the last bus back to PV, and at the bus stop i was handed my wallet, which "had been thrown in a stream". Money was gone, but we diversify and there were several other stashes. Did the card cancel thing and all was well, didn't have to cross the border with the coyotes.
Fast forward less than a year, same damn shorts, and i'm dragging the "road" in the desert at the ML's house with the old Ford 9N tractor. Get back to the house and no wallet. So we walk the road - one mile down, one mile up - no wallet, no surprise - i was dragging the road: i've buried it. This is post 911 - ever try boarding a plane sans ID? The trick is to call your local PD, they forward an official police "this guy is a known driver up here" down and that will get you through. Again a fair chunk of cash is gone, again my honey notifies all the riff-raff that there is treasure to be found, again i get to go home (after some bonus tickling from the TSAs, 'cause i just look like a bad egg). Cancel all the cards, get yet another driver's license, another carry permit, donate the shorts, and have my gal bringing home pair after pair of baggy shorts with velcro pockets, zipper pockets, sewn down flap cover pockets... and i only wear shorts on vacation or if it's 100+. A couple months later my gal is back at her Mom's house and a desert road walker-neighbor contacts her and returns my wallet, several cards, and about 2/3 of the money - he had found them scattered along the road, many with chew marks - not much for the critters to eat down there. Pretty cool! Split the money with him.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:51 AM   #13
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Glad they returned your wallet, but I wouldn't count on the theft to be over. Wouldn't take a chance that the cc numbers aren't compromised. I'd contact the cc issuers and request a new number for the accounts. They continue your credit history, just on a new cc number. Hope your state isn't one of those where your driver's license number is your SSN...that never made any sense to me...it usually expires on your DOB...
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:54 AM   #14
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I found a wallet years ago and mailed back to the person....I dont think it was stolen but just dropped....there was a few bucks in it and used to pay for postage...I am surprised they kept the gift card in there if they were thieves....
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:55 AM   #15
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For piece of mind I would call my banks and credit card institutions and order new cards.
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Old 12-07-2007, 11:15 AM   #16
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The only time I lost a wallet it was found by a homeless bag lady. She took it into a Used Car dealership and he called. I gave her a nice reward (everything was in it).

Oh yeah, one problem. The reason the wallet was lost was that I kept it in the glove box of my truck. The truck that was stolen from the lot at work and never seen again ...

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Old 12-07-2007, 12:27 PM   #17
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When I was in school, I worked in the library. We used to find wallets once or twice a month and call people to tell them we had it. Some of them didn't even know that it was missing until the call.
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Old 12-07-2007, 12:54 PM   #18
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About 30 years ago i was working as a white hat grower at a big mushroom farm (1 million #/month). Lots of brown brothers from the south working there, some of whom came back to work several times with several different names after being deported. The farm was an easy target to make quota if La Migra had the need. That being the case, the workers tended to carry their bankrolls with them, at least what they hadn't already sent home to their families.
Went in one of the men's room stalls and found a wallet on the top of a toilet tank with a major chunk of change in it and turned it in to the office. Never heard back from the picker who lost that wallet, but i'm real sure it made him feel very happy. Made me feel pretty good too, given that that was probably about his entire stateside assets.
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Old 12-07-2007, 01:54 PM   #19
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I lost my wallet at a shopping center 2 miles from our house about 1 week before my wedding/honeymoon. Totally stressed me out since a lot of the reservations were made with the CC. Got a replacement driver's license (for the rent-a-car), and started the process of canceling all the cards. I get back from our trip and find out that someone drove up to the house and turned it in with all the cash and stuff in it. Pretty nice guy according to my friend who received the wallet.
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Old 12-07-2007, 02:02 PM   #20
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Quote:
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About 30 years ago i was working as a white hat grower at a big mushroom farm (1 million #/month). Lots of brown brothers from the south working there, some of whom came back to work several times with several different names after being deported. The farm was an easy target to make quota if La Migra had the need. That being the case, the workers tended to carry their bankrolls with them, at least what they hadn't already sent home to their families.
Went in one of the men's room stalls and found a wallet on the top of a toilet tank with a major chunk of change in it and turned it in to the office. Never heard back from the picker who lost that wallet, but i'm real sure it made him feel very happy. Made me feel pretty good too, given that that was probably about his entire stateside assets.
Heheheh, mushrooms.
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