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Anyone with a smartphone can copy your house key in 30 seconds.

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When it comes to obtaining a copy of a key, gone are the days of taking the physical key down to the locksmith or the local key cutter.  New technology combining smart phone cameras, 3-D printing technology and automated key cutting machines makes obtaining a copy of a key simply a matter of taking a few photos and waiting for the new key to arrive.  Depending upon your location, you may be able to visit a local kiosk and pick the key up in less than an hour.

KeyMe is the leader offering this new service.  With just a few digital photos and 3-D technology, their app and cloud service builds a digital model of the key and sends it to a specialized key cutting machine.  The final product is often superior to a key cut from a physical copy.  You can wait for the key to arrive via shipment or in some markets, visit a local kiosk and pick it up within an hour.  Experienced locksmiths have been able reproduce keys using long shot photos from up to 200 feet away for a long time.   Today, most people have access to this technology using their smartphone and a copy of almost any key can be obtained with little more than a few pictures of the keys you want to copy.

KeyMe takes steps to track and secure the purchase of keys, but they do little if anything upfront, to verify whether the person ordering the key is authorized.  With the ubiquity of this new technology in mind, you may want to consider who has access to your housekey.  We compiled the following list of people and services that create situations where you might leave a copy of your housekey with another party.

  • Home repairman or contractor
  • House keeper
  • Hidden key box and the individuals that know the location or code
  • Valet parking
  • Auto mechanics
  • Car washer.

A great article in Wired magazine follows the author as he shows a friend just how easy it is to obtain a copy of a key to someone’s home.  Everyone should reconsider how they use, organize, and share their house keys.  The easiest thing everyone can do is make it easier to separate your trusted house keys from the keys you need to hand over to other people.  Some keyrings make adding and removing keys very easy.  You can also consider a valet or quick connect keyring.  These attach to your normal keyring and allow you to separatekeys from the rest of your keys with the push of a button.

We offer two types at simplekeyring.com

The pneumatic quick connect has a robust collar that is similar in design to a high pressure air coupling.  To disconnect or connect, the user pulls back the collar, releasing or accepting the connecting pin.

The Ignition Saver – Stretch™ is a component in many of our keyrings.  The connection is made via an S-clip, permitting a quick connect or disconnect.  The other end employs a stretch lanyard, which adds the benefit of reducing the amount of vibration your ignition is exposed to, particularly useful if you keep a heavy set of keys.

What do you do when the key you need to hand over is your house key?  Kwikset has a line of door locks that allow you to rekey your own locks.  When you are ready to change your keys, you insert an extra pin alongside your key, pull the key out and insert the new key.  That is it, you have rekeyed your lock.  The Kwikset key sets include a second set of keys for contractors.  You rekey your lock for the contractor, then change it back after your keys are returned.  If you feel like your housekey has been compromised, you simply rekey the locks.

Digital cameras, smart phones, software, and internet connectivity have changed what keeping your housekeys safe means.  Who has access to your keys is even more important today.  Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your home and some help make your life more secure than it used to be.  We hope we have provided some ideas and alternatives to help you make your house safer.

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