SPECIAL REPORT: Are Key Copying Websites Trading Convenience For - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

SPECIAL REPORT: Are Key Copying Websites Trading Convenience For Safety?

by Justin Kree
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - There are different websites online that promote cyber locksmiths. One particular site is keysduplicated.com.  The website is mobile optimized, meaning your phone can do all the work. Making a copy of your key is as simple as taking a picture.

The way it works is easy. You take a simple picture of your key with your smart phone, and three days later, the company claims an exact replica will be mailed to you.

"This isn't actually that new of a concept. Locksmiths have been able to make copies of keys from pictures for quite a long time," Jordan Meyer, Chief Operating Officer of Keysduplicated.com, said.

Taking a quick photo and paying $6 dollars with a credit card, a confirmation e-mail says whether or not your key can be duplicated.

"Taking a picture of both the front and the back part of the key. The reason we do that is to make sure you have actual physical access to that key. You have to pick it up and flip it over. You're not sitting with a telephoto lens far away or walking by a table and snapping a photo," Meyer said.

That may be true but when's the last time you left your key at an oil change place or a valet? Couldn't they, in theory, make a duplicate of your key just by snapping a quick photo? Couldn't they eventually break into your house?

"There are so many different ways to get into a residence. Over 30% of the burglaries that occur were by a kicked-in door. Over 20% of burglaries were from opening a window. There are so many ways to get inside a house," Midland Police Sergeant, Jimmy Young, said

Keysduplicated.com assures proper safety steps are taken to where this easy concept is hard for criminals to go through with it.

"It's not the difficulty that's the problem, it's more the trace-ability. We have the credit card on file unless they stole the credit card. They also have to know this person and have access to their keys, They have to wait three to five days to get the key in the mail. It's just more steps that you would have to typically take if you really wanted to get into someone's house," Meyer said.

Police believe this website won't increase criminal activity. They say being neighborly makes all the difference.

"Neighbors got to take care of neighbors. There are so many people who don't know their neighbors. The best way to protect yourself is helping each other out," Young said.

We wanted to try it out for ourselves to see if taking a simple picture and sending through cyberspace really works.

Zora Asberry is the newest reporter at NewsWest 9. She doesn't know this, but earlier this week, she left her keys lying on the desk. I went ahead and took a picture of both the front and the back side of her key. Three days later, it came in the mail and I was able to unlock her door.

Asberry just moved to the area and was surprised that I could get into her house.

"I just think it's terrifying that anyone can take a picture of my key and they can open my door and it's just that simple," Asberry said

Meyer says his company has too much information of the person ordering the new key, unlike going to a locksmith in town.

"You can get a key from a locksmith and they will just charge you cash. There's not going to be any trace-ability there. While it's an easy process, we don't think it's suitable for someone if they really want to do something like break into a home," Meyer said.

Keeping an eye on your belongings will also help protect your property.

"Don't leave your keys out. Treat them like credit cards or your social security card. Protect your keys, know where they are at all times. Because technology is growing everyday," Young said.

But being neighborly is the ultimate key to protecting your home.

"I definitely think it's important to get to know your neighbors when you move to a new place. But it's also a step to meet new neighbors and new people. But you do want to know the people who surround you," Asberry said. 
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