Online Lost and Found Service Reviews

Have you ever lost something and wondered, “how will I get it back”? How that mobile phones have our life history stored in their memory, the cost of losing a phone is much more than the price to simply replace it – memories are priceless.

Given that, it’s interesting that there are relatively few online lost and found websites. It seems in the age of Uber that we could find a way to unleash all of the “finding” power of millions of cell phone users to help return lost items.

There are several options for lost and found services. Some are considered “full service” and have higher costs, while others are “self service” and are free.

Return.me – Full Service Lost and Found Services

One of the largest of the full-service lost and found services is return.me. It works by having customers purchase pre-printed “tags” with a specific ID number on each tag. The options include key tags, ID tags and adhesive ID tags. When a customer purchases a Tag, they simply go online to the return.me website and register that tag. If someone finds it, the tag has instructions to call and/or visit the return.me website to begin the recovery process.

Return.me acts as the go-between between the finder and owner of the item. In most cases, shipping is involved and the details are handled by returne.me’s staff.

Return.me Pricing

Return.me charges anywhere from $8.99 and up for a tag to use on a cell phone (gadget category). This is a very reasonable amount based on the amount of work that goes into recovering an item that may need to be shipped. For local lost and found, however, the full-service fees may be overkill.

Regardless, the value of a person’s phone these days well exceeds the nominal fee of $9. What’s more, cell/mobile phone insurance generally covers the loss of a phone but charges a deductible of up to $200. $9 for a simple recovery is well worth it.

FOUNDio.com – Self-Service Lost and Found

Self-service lost and found options are becoming more popular because virtually anyone who finds a lost item HAS A CELL PHONE that can be used to immediately notify the owner. 99% of items are lost within a very short radius of where the owner lives (10 miles or less from their house) so the full service shipping feature is over rated.

The power of recovering a lost item with the help of mass “finders”

With the saturation of mobile phones, every person is now a potential “finder” of a lost item. Not only that, but they can quickly and easily notify the owner before the owner travels too far from the lost item. Imagine finding someones book bag at the library. You see a FOUNDio.com tag and use your phones browser to pull up the website. You enter their Tag ID and boom, the owner has been notified. They follow your instructions and pick up the phone from the library lost and found.
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FOUNDio.com Pricing

Free. Nada. Nothing.

The cool thing about a service like FOUNDio.com is that it takes advantage of the fact that people are smart and technically capable. It also relies on the fact that most people are honest and want to do the right thing.

While most lost and found services charge money for their labels (and some even their service), FOUNDio.com is based on the idea that losing something stinks and why should a company benefit from that?

FOUNDio customers can create a label (either by hand or printed) and then use the service for free. There is never any charge for using the service.

Why both services work

We’ve all lost things at some point in our lives. Some have lost things that are irreplaceable. The internet has given birth to many “crowd sourced” solutions like social media and transportation. Why not adopt that power to help return lost items to their rightful owner?

Both full- and self-service lost and found services can be found today. They all basically work because most people are honest and will try their best to help return an item to its rightful owner.

If you have expensive gadgets like phones, keys, book bags, etc., you should try one of the services and see what you think.

Keeping organized OUTSIDE the home

One big benefit of home organization is being able to find things quickly; “a place for everything with everything in it’s place”. In fact, I saw on Jennifer Jones terrific site iheartorganizing.com that “for every minute spent getting organized, an hour is gained”. That’s a phenomenal investment!

Couple the time saved with the high-cost of many of the things our families carry around these days, and it’s clear that we not only need to be organized IN our homes, but we need a way to keep track of things OUTSIDE our homes.

That is the basis for why we created FOUNDio. We’re web developers with kids…kids who have expensive phones, tablets, games and, of course, school items. We’ve had a few close calls where some of those high-end gadgets have almost been left behind.

The interesting part is that not only do we have expensive phones/tablets with us at all times, everyone else does too! Why not take advantage of this free army of “Finders” to help recover a lost item?

All that is needed to avoid losing expensive items are the following:

  1. A way to mark our phones so a Finder knows what to do to notify us
  2. A simple, web browser based notifying system available to the Finder
  3. Honesty by the Finder

1) Marking our phones

phone_4acesIf someone finds your phone or other item, there are very few options available to the Finder. If the phone still has power, maybe you have an “owner” screen that will notify them. Hopefully you do not have the screen locked!

A more effective way that seems so simple is to mark your phone so that a Finder knows exactly what to do with it. Give them what they need to take action now so you can get your phone back quickly. Most people lose things within 10 miles of their house so the faster a Finder can reach you, the better. Look at the Tag on this phone and ask yourself what would you do if you found it and knew someone was desperately looking for it? Now, that label is a rough, hand-written one…but it would still work!

2) Notifying System

Of course, we are talking about FOUNDio as the central notifying system. There are 2 main pieces of information needed for FOUNDio to work…a Tag ID and an associated Email address. These are both defined when someone creates their personal Tag ID.

Once the Tag ID has been registered, it can be put on any number of items like the phone above. The key point is that the Tag ID does not give away any personal information like your name (especially for kids), cell phone number, address, etc.

The FOUNDio notifying system is always available for a Finder to use via their phone’s web browser (no “app” needed). They would simply go to FOUNDio.com, enter your Tag ID and give you instructions on how to get your phone back. For example, “I left your phone with Jim at the customer service desk at the Giant grocery store on 1st avenue”.

The FOUNDio system will email you that information to your web based email account which you can check from a friend’s phone or your laptop at home.

3) Honesty

This is the best part. It lets honest people shine!

Virtually every person today is walking around with a smart phone with a web browser and most people are honest. If they find a phone that is “locked” or “dead”, it’s very unlikely they would keep it.

However, if there is no easy way for them to notify you, they may not take the time to track you down. Don’t let a Finder toss your phone because they don’t know what to do with it!

Help others be honest and Tag it with FOUNDio!

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Losing stuff stinks…the genesis of FOUNDio

I’ve been asked several times, “Why did you start FOUNDio”?

The answer is simple: We’re web developers with kids.

They (and us) periodically misplace expensive things like phones, tablets, laptops, school books, keys and even coats. We decided to create a service for our own use that would help us recover our valuable items without being a security risk to us or our kids. The service needed to be easy to use, work effectively and protect our identity.

Since I already run a web-based development company, we set out one Friday with a whiteboard and a few basic ideas…

  1. It needed to be easy to use; no special labels or tags to buy
  2. It needed to be free…forever
  3. It needed to be safe for kids to have on their things
  4. It needed to be personal so you could use one easy to remember Tag ID for all your stuff
  5. It should not require an “app” any phone browser will work

FOUNDio was born.

With our base service up and running, we decided to open it up to the public for free. If you like it, please tell your friends and family about the service so we can get lots of people (and their stuff) protected.