Lost property

Personal information we hold

Reports or enquiries about lost property are submitted to TfL using our online enquiry form, our customer contact centres, by email and by post. The personal information we will hold includes:

  • Name, address, email address, telephone number
  • Description of your lost property
  • Other personal information that may help us to identify you or your property

We also hold a large variety of personal information contained in lost property items. Such items can include laptops, mobile phones, payment cards, passports, driving licences, bank statements, items of correspondence, etc.

If you telephone our Lost Property Office or one of our other customer contact centres about an item of lost property, your call will be recorded for training and quality purposes.

How we use personal information

TfL and the companies that process personal information on our behalf use your personal information for customer services and administration, managing items of lost property and fraud prevention.

Much of the lost property found on TfL's premises/services (and in the taxis we regulate), contains personal information. TfL may use this information to attempt to identify and/or contact you as the owner of that item (eg checking whether a lost Oyster card is registered with us). We might also contact relevant third parties to try and reunite you with your property.

We will not use your personal information for marketing purposes and will not pass it to any other organisation for those purposes.

Length of time we keep information

Enquiries about items of lost property are kept open for 21 days. By the end of this period we will tell you whether or not we have found your lost property. Once the case has been closed the details are retained in our lost property database for a further two years.

Claim forms (which are completed when you retrieve an item of lost property) are retained for a period of seven years from the date of completion.

Any unclaimed items become the legal property of TfL after a period of three months from the date they are handed in. The item can then be sold at auction, donated to charity, recycled or destroyed. Before items are disposed of using any of those methods, any personal information contained in them will be destroyed or permanently deleted.

Keeping personal information secure

We take the privacy of our customers very seriously and a range of robust policies, processes and physical and technical measures are all in place to control and safeguard access to, and use of, personal information associated with TfL's management of lost property.

Sharing personal information

TfL has contracts with a number of third party service providers that provide 'back office' functions which support the efficient day-to-day operation of our Lost Property Office. This includes auction, courier, data cleansing and lost property disposal services.

We may share personal information relating to an item of lost property in a number of circumstances, eg for the purposes of verifying your claim of ownership, to help us reunite you with your property and to prevent/detect crime (including fraudulent claims of ownership). Any information sharing is managed in accordance with relevant privacy and data protection legislation.

To help reunite mobile phones with their owner, we may give the police IMEI numbers to upload to the National Mobile Property Register on TfL's behalf. In the case of lost payment cards, our Lost Property Office may give your bank or credit card provider a letter to pass on to you.

Similarly, in the case of a lost school/college bag, if we can identify your name and educational establishment, we may contact them in the same way. However, we will never disclose the details of the lost property itself, or ask for them to provide us with information about you.

Sometimes individuals may also report their property as missing to the police or an insurance company (eg because they think their property has been stolen rather than mislaid). As a result, we may share information about lost property with these types of organisation so that they can help us return items to their rightful owner.

In some circumstances, disclosures of personal data to the police (and other law enforcement agencies) are permitted by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), if they relate to the prevention or detection of crime and/or the apprehension or prosecution of offenders. Before any such disclosure takes place, the police are required to demonstrate that the personal data concerned will assist them in this respect. Each police request to TfL is dealt with on a strict case-by-case basis to ensure that any such disclosure is lawful and in accordance with the DPA.

Overseas Processing

TfL and its service providers do not currently process any personal information relating to lost property outside the United Kingdom.

Accessing your personal information

For access to your personal information held by TfL please see the section on 'Subject Access requests' in Access your data.

Please contact our Lost Property Office directly for all other general enquiries about your lost property.

Lost property Privacy Notice

Transport for London (TfL), its subsidiaries and service providers, will use your personal information for the purposes of lost property administration, customer services and fraud prevention. Your personal information will be properly safeguarded and processed in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998.

TfL may share this information with relevant agencies and organisations where necessary to help establish the identity of property owners, to facilitate the return of property or for the prevention and detection of crime. 


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