Camera Phones Copy Keys Easily For Homeowners — And Crooks

DENVER (CBS) – Camera phones and cyberspace are making it easier to make copies of your keys without ever stepping foot inside a hardware store.  But as CBS4′s Jennifer Brice reported, the new technology could also make it easier for criminals to break into your home.

Brice used a cell phone camera to take a snapshot of a co-workers keys. With the co-worker’s permission, she uploaded the photo to an online locksmith called keysduplicated.com. After paying just $6, a functioning house key arrived in the mail just two days later.

The founders of keysduplicated.com say most of the requests they receive come from people who are just trying to copy their house keys. They say they’re company is safer than a traditional locksmith because they require a credit card with a name on it and a phone number to purchase a key, which is more easily traced than the cash many locksmiths accept.

“We make sure that you take a picture of the front and back of the keys so you can’t be using a telephoto lens and spotting a key on the table,” said Jordan Meyer, co-founder of Keysduplicated.com.

The society of professional locksmiths disagrees with the claim that cyber locksmiths are safer and says leaving your keys in plain view is just as much of a risk as handing them to a stranger.

“You need to protect your keys, not leave them out of site for any amount of time,” said Barry Campbell, Director of Operations of the Society of Professional Locksmiths.

Security experts urge caution when handing over your keys for auto repairs or to a valet.

“Don’t keep them with other identification which can tie up the connection between the key and the physical address,” said security expert Alan Schissel, who advises detaching your keys from the rest of the ring to avoid becoming a victim.

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