I want to share my thoughts on subject.
I found a planner of some person with a lot of data, but only name and photo of him and his wife were true. There was fake phone number and fake address. I had to trace down his name, arrange it by photos, find his relatives, search for their contact, then finally found one working phone, called and returned it back taking no money.
So this is a sum up of what I found:
- if you are carrying stuff around, be prepared to loose it.
- if thats about information, the best you can do is to expect loose any day. That means - do not take all your data with you, ideally the device should just be a hub. If its not, make backups of data (cloud, offline, no matter) and store information on the device with good encryption. Should the device be lost, change your passwords.
- if this is a physical thing with some value (or its an additional physical layer of some price around information), think what has more value to you - exposing your basic contact info and possibly returning the device, or not exposing it and not getting it back. Hence the preference for cheap gadgets. However, if the device is of some value to you, do update some contacts on it - chances are good guy finds it and brings it to you or (better) police department. Just write some "if you found this thing, please call ... for reward" note, you dont have to mention your name or even your address. Think that if its a good guy, he just needs to know how to contact you - nothing else. And if it will be a bad guy, he should not know nothing else but some disposable contact (that should never the less be kept polished if it happens).
On the root of my Flash drives I put a "IF FOUND README.TXT" file with a phone number, and a secondary email address. The file is prominent (since I minimize the number of files in the root), and a TXT file will open on any system. As well if the finder is tech savvy, and skeptical of it potentially being a bait device, the fact that it's a TXT file should reduce their worries that it may contain a malicious MS Word macro, etc.
On other devices I try to slip a card between the case and the body, or put a piece of tape with contact details. My Android lock screen has an alternate phone number (as well as ICE information). My camera splash screen is contact info.
Once at a university library I found a flash drive. Went rooting through the files, found a resume with a name that matched the name on the assignment files. I fired them off an email to let them know I found their flash drive and left it with the library clerk. That way when they had the moment of shear and utter panic realizing they lost their entire term's work, they'd know where the drive was being held for safekeeping.
In another case I found a Blackberry. Battery was dead so I charged it up. When I switched it on it got a message from a BBM contact. I told them I found the phone and was trying to reunite it with the owner, and we made a rendezvous.
I returned the devices I found because it's the right thing to do, and would refuse any money over the cost of expenses because I think it's good Karma (I'd like any device I lost to be returned). In the case of my devices, I want to make it as easy as possible for someone to find the right contact information without having to dig around (or if there was no power / it is locked).