Lost your belongings in a NYC cab? Here’s the shortcut to getting it back

So you left your __________ in a NYC taxi. Lucky you, what to do next?

While leaving a phone can result in “Find my Phone”, getting in touch with the driver, or a friendly good Samaritan passenger, it is significantly harder to find a non-phone valuable (i.e., a purse, backpack, computer, or watch).

Just last month I went through the painstaking effort of attempting to recover such items (my backpack, notebook, and laptop), and did so successfully – discovering a shortcut to the process.

While the infamous NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) website suggests filing a report using the online 311 service, this is probably the least efficient way to find your item.  They suggest reporting timing, drop-off location, etc, but this will most likely not provide results.  I filed such a report, and the TLC responded 6 days later with an incorrect taxi medallion #. They also provide 13 different numbers for lost and found locations at police precincts around the city – I tried every single one, twice, to no avail. I also contacted my credit card company – they could only provide me the zip code of the transaction, leading me to try all 14 listed taxi yards in Woodside, Queens: no dice. Here's what you should do instead.

If you paid via credit card, you’re in luck!

1)    Call the following 2 companies – between them, they cover transaction processing for all yellow / green NYC taxis, and will have your records:

a.    Veriphone: +1-718 752 1656 (expedited NYC-focused #)

b.    CMT: +1-718-937-4444

2)    One of these companies will provide you the following:

a.    Medallion # from the transaction

b.    Managing company of the taxi and contact #

3)    Call the company / contact # provided, identifying the medallion. They will put you directly in touch with the driver who has your item, and will hopefully return it to you expediently. Yay!


Learn from my mistakes, save yourself days/hours, and recover your item(s)! Good luck!