How I Can Get a Key to Your House

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How I Can Get a Key to Your House

How hard would it be for me, or someone else, to get a key to your house? It has just become a little easier, and the “how” may surprise you.

We’ve all seen the movie or TV show where the unprincipled person with a set of lock-picking tools in their pocket can defeat a door lock in under a minute to gain access. In the more flamboyant spy movies, you’ve seen the ruse where the attractive woman distracts a man, while the accomplice slyly picks his pocket, gaining access to his keys, rushes them out to a van, makes a quick imprint, and then goes back inside to slip the keys back into the unsuspecting mark’s pocket without him ever having a clue. But of course, they have a whole team working on this, and special equipment like the ability to make an impression of the key, then some type of machine and chemical compounds to create a key from the impression. We are talking James Bond type stuff, certainly not something your average person is going to be able to pull off… right?

Not so fast. The truth is, that with the help of modern technology, and a slightly devious mind, your coworker, neighbor, restaurant valet, plumber, or any number of other people could be the individual that is now able to reproduce a key to your office, your home’s front door, your storage building, or any other place that is secured with a lock, the key to which you have on a keyring or laying around somewhere. How, you ask? Let me tell you how.

key to your house - Dallas Private Investigator

Key Me Kiosk inside a 7-Eleven in New York City.

There is a company called Key Me. They offer a nifty little iPhone app. From this app, you simply take a picture or two of a key. From the photo, the company can now produce a perfect, copied key. They can mail it to you. They can give you specific directions that a locksmith can follow to cut a key, or you can go to one of their kiosks, log-in, and have the key cut right there at the machine. Currently, the kiosks are only located in New York. But if you look at their current deployment, you begin to understand their strategy. There are kiosks located at a couple of  malls, inside a Rite Aid drugstore, a 7-Eleven, and a Bed, Bath & Beyond store. You can easily see how easy they hope to make it to have a key made.

Now, could this be convenient for the average person? Absolutely! You can keep a digital keyring. If you lose a key or all of your keys, you make one online visit, or one visit to a kiosk, and for a few dollars, you have a new set of keys. Your spouse is locked out and you are out of town? Share the digital key image with them through the app account, and they can easily get a new key. No more lockout service required from a locksmith costing hundreds of dollars. You can have a key made with your favorite team logo and such. Fun. Simple. Easy.

But stop and think about if you have ever left your keys sitting out somewhere. On your desk at the office, and then you step away for 5 minutes to go get a cup of coffee. I could easily take the two pictures I need on a white background in 30 seconds, and I in essence have a key to your house. Ever set your keys down at bar or restaurant? What about leaving them on the desk in your hotel room? Do you hand your keys to the valet? Everyone has a smart phone, and that’s all you really need to pull this off.

Certainly, this company has some security features in place. Any purchase is done with a credit card. The use of the kiosk requires a fingerprint scan (it does not match the scan to anything, it just saves it if there is a problem later). So there is a digital trail that could be followed after the fact, if you or the police think to check with these types of places to see if this might have happened to you. Of course, an organized criminal could probably figure out a way around these hurdles.

Am I suggesting this is bad? That it should be banned? No. However, I do believe you need to know that it is possible, so you can be aware and take precautions. We hear all the warnings during the holiday season about being aware of your surroundings in a parking lot at the local Mall, so that you can avoid being robbed. This is no different. You need to be aware of how it can be done, so you can take precautions to prevent it from happening to you.

There are other companies that offer similar services, such as Keys Duplicated. You may find one of these services to be extremely handy. I will definitely be trying them out. But I also think you should be aware of yet another way that you could be vulnerable, and I encourage you to think about how you can best protect yourself from something bad happening, like a stranger ending up with a copy of your house key because he got 30 seconds with your keys and snapped a couple of pics.


Keith Owens is the owner and founder of Owens Investigations.


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