Are people more likely to return a lost item if their contact details are not revealed while interacting with the owner?

QR codes have become mainstream in COVID time thanks to restaurants, coffee shops and shops using them for touchless interaction during and after the pandemic.

The only benefit of the pandemic for NoLongerLost is that QR codes are becoming more accepted. People see and understand the added value of the QR code with the service behind it. NoLongerLost is ideal for anonymously tagging objects. Finders can easily contact it by scanning the QR code with the mobile camera if one of the objects goes missing. Neither party needs to download an App which makes it very low-threshold.

NoLongerLost is applicable to various products. Think keys, bags, suitcases, chargers, laptops, umbrellas, water bottles, pets and we even have tags for children and the elderly.

Unfortunately, there are also parties offering lost-and-found QR code tags with risks. Thinking about a typical "contact me" QR code reveals the owner's contact details when scanned, and reveals the finder's contact details when they call or text the owner. So these are not anonymous, nor do we recommend them for privacy and security reasons!

Therefore, at NoLongerLost, we have made it our top priority to ensure the privacy and anonymity of both owners and finders by giving them QR codes that allow them to communicate without revealing their contact details to each other.

And while we initially focused on protecting the owner's identity and contact details, we discovered that privacy played an important role for finders when deciding whether or not to contact the owner to return a lost item. NoLongerLost's anonymous messaging feature is low-threshold and very easy for both the finder and rightful owner to use. Both parties can choose what kind of data they can share with each other.

NoLongerLost private messaging forwards messages between a web chat interface that can be accessed from the landing page of each QR code. Via mail and SMS, both parties are notified. Location and phone number can then be easily shared in the chat.

No app needs to be downloaded or installed. The finder uses NoLongerLost's web interface to chat with the owner. The owner receives message notifications and replies anonymously.

And if the finder needs to close the web page, he can continue to communicate anonymously with the owner by verifying his e-mail. NoLongerLost forwards messages between the two phones and emails without disclosing their details to each other.