Have you ever lost your cell phone only to never have it returned? Usually, people who find a lost phone want to do the right thing, but it can be difficult for them to identify the owner. Either the phone is locked (needing a password,) or there’s no other identification on the phone.

This sMARt tip is all about three simple ways to get your mobile device returned — without leaving your phone unsecured.

Here are my three tips to assure a reunion:

  1. Case Clue: More and more people use cases to jazz up and show personality and style when carrying their phones, yet if someone finds your phone your password prevents access to it. An inexpensive way to assure the finder can contact you? Simply write your name on the inside of the case along with a phone number (anything other than your lost cell phone number, of course). By also adding a simple message such as “please return for a reward,” you will no doubt incentivize and motivate the finder to call and do the right thing. 
  2. Card Trick: Business cards can also become an essential tool in getting your phone returned to you. Truth be told, by simply placing a business card in between your phone and case with that magic message “please return for reward” they need not look any further for who owns the phone. 
  3. Customized Decoration: My final tip is both simple and extremely decorative. With so many online resources offering the ability to create a custom phone case one can choose both creative designs and important messaging right on the case itself.  A business logo, a family crest, or even a monogram can all be incorporated, and “return for reward” can also be added, along with a contact phone number.  Zazzle.com offers a variety of choices and, best of all, you can download your own artwork and add a text box as well.

Finally, how best to reward someone who returns your phone? Consider the cost, time and effort it takes to replace your phone. Always begin with a heartfelt, over-the-top thank you, and of course, pay all the expenses of getting the phone back to you! If a cab or a bus ride is needed to assure it will get to you, offer to reimburse him or her for all  expenses.

A gift card is a perfect way to say thank you. Always include a hand-written note. The amount of the gift should correlate to the value of what was found.