Boomers like me remember a time when people left their cars in the driveway without locking the doors. It was a time when communities were composed of neighborhoods in which everyone knew each other. Men shared tools, women shared recipes and children shared toys. We had block parties and cook-outs and we looked out for each other. Many people didn’t even lock the doors to their houses. Those who did choose to lock their doors would often leave a key hidden nearby for emergencies.
Of course, the keys were never hidden very well. Most would guess to look for a key underneath a welcome mat, a potted plant or on a nearby ledge above the door jamb so as time wore on specialty hiding places were developed specifically to hide keys outdoors. Artificial stones with hidden compartments and metal boxes with magnets became popular so that spare keys could be left, hidden for those who inadvertently locked themselves out.
Nowadays, few of us leave home without locking our doors. In fact, newer homes often have elaborate security systems that are constantly monitored with motion sensors, cameras and other electronics that alert the authorities if unauthorized access to the home occurs. But, at the end of the day, it all boils down to the safety and security of one’s house key.
And now it doesn’t appear that they’re as secure as we might think they are.
Keysduplicated.com is making headlines for demonstrating how simple it is to make a copy of a key to any house, condo or other property using only a smart phone. By visiting the website on a mobile device, users can take a photo of the front and back of a key, enter a credit card number and have a duplicate key mailed to them in a matter of days. While the service might be a convenient way for homeowners to order extra keys, it seems to me like a security breach waiting to happen.
Think about all the opportunities during the day for someone to take a photograph of your house keys. Do you leave them on your desk at the office? Do they dangle on the side of your purse as you stand in line at the supermarket? Is it in the console of your car? Did you give it to the valet at the restaurant last night? Who else has a copy? Where do they keep it? Is it safe?
Keysduplicated.com is careful to explain that they take extreme precautions to ensure the security of their customers’ keys and personal information.
They also offer some good advice and commonsense rules than can help prevent unauthorized duplication of your keys. For example:
- Keep your keys in a pocket, purse or anywhere else out of sight that you would keep a credit card.
- Don’t leave your keys unattended. You don’t leave your credit cards layering around, right?
- Consider high security locks on your doors with keys that are harder to duplicate. (If you don’t have a security system, it might be time to get one.)
- Don’t share pictures of your keys on social media. Ever.
Our homes are our castles. They are our refuges and we need to feel safe there. Our children count on us to make them feel safe there. Our homes are where the heart is and we have to maintain control of who gets in.
“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” – George Carlin
Keep up with your house keys. Treat all of your keys like you would an online password. Many vehicle keys can be copied, too.
Would you use a smart phone app to order duplicate keys?
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