The key to danger: Who else has a key to your house? - AmericaNowNews.com

YourHome

The key to danger: Who else has a key to your house?

  • YourHomeThe key to danger: Who else has a key to your house?More>>

  • Consumer

    Scam targets new homeowners

    Scam targeting new homeowners

    Slick real estate cons are trying to trick new homeowners into buying an unneeded copy of their deed.
    Slick real estate cons are trying to trick new homeowners into buying an unneeded copy of their deed.
  • Consumer

    Automatic meter reading may put your home at risk

    Automatic meter reading may put your home at risk

    Your utility meter just churns away at the side of your home, but the information it's cranking out has computer science graduate students at the University of South Carolina talking.
    Your utility meter just churns away at the side of your home, but the information it's cranking out has computer science graduate students at the University of South Carolina talking.
  • Safety

    Look out for the 'knock knock' home invasion

    Look out for the 'knock knock' home invasion

    A bold new tactic that some robbers are using to break into homes - knocking on the front door. Here's what you need to know to avoid becoming a victim.
    A bold new tactic that some robbers are using to break into homes - knocking on the front door. Here's what you need to know to avoid becoming a victim.
  • Safety

    The best home surveillance systems

    Best home surveillance systems

    Recent FBI data shows Americans lose more than $4.5 billion in property each year to burglary. As a result, a growing number of homeowners are installing video surveillance systems.
    Recent FBI data shows Americans lose more than $4.5 billion in property each year to burglary. As a result, a growing number of homeowners are installing video surveillance systems in and around their homes. Leeza Gibbons and the LAPD will show you which ones work best!

Would you ever knowingly put a lock on your house that a complete stranger can open? You may not know it, but you may have already done that.

"It just doesn't make sense when you buy a lock and someone else has a key to it, period," said locksmith Glen Peifer. "I would like to know that my key is the only one that fits the lock."

It is a danger most consumers do not consider.

When you buy a mass produced lock, the chances are very good that someone else has the key to your home.

"My mom always said you get what you pay for," said Ginger Watson, who was pleased with the price of a dead bolt lock she purchased at a big box retailer.

She was not so pleased when we told her a little known secret...

Lock expert Glen Peifer says most big box retailers only carry a limited number of different keys for each brand of locks they sell.

"I would say it would be very low. It would probably be under 10 or 20," said Peifer about the number of keys.

Take Schlage for example. The company manufactures 30,000 different keys.

A spokesperson for Schlage says they constantly rotate the thousands of key codes they ship to retailers.

But how often are retailers rotating their inventory?

At the Home Depot America Now found seven Schlage deadbolts on the shelf. All seven had the same key.

Out of nine handle and deadbolt sets, there were only two different keys available, meaning every other customer would have matching locks on their doors.

America Now Investigators quickly found matching keys for several brands, including Defiant, Gate House, and Kwikset.

Finding a match to Ginger Watson's Gate House-brand lock was as simple as matching a serial number on her key. It only took about 10 seconds.

"Scary. Because someone could be helping me in the store, look at the number, 'Here you go ma'am'. Memorize it. Grab the same thing right quick or wait and just trail me home," said a shocked Watson.

Key manufacturers tout the convenience of matching keys to customers who want the lock on the front door to match the back door.

But safety experts say that convenience comes with a risk, in situations you may not have ever thought about!

Maybe a criminal would not go so far as to buy up a bunch of locks and try to find a key that matches yours. But think about how often you surrender your keys, i.e. the valet, the car wash.

And what about those membership cards on your key ring that need to be scanned? Have you ever just tossed your entire set of keys into a drive through window?

Safety experts say you should always separate your car key from your house key, lowering the chance of someone stealing your key's identity.

"Maybe they think what are the odds?" said Peifer. "But I think if they really knew what the odds were they would choose not to do that."

When America Now asked Home Depot and Lowe's how many different keys are available in their inventory of locks.

Home Depot said, "We don't break out the information you are requesting."

Lowe's said "We aren't able to provide information on inventory."

Schlage offers this advice: Ask the retailer where you purchased your lock if they will re-key it for you.

The safest solution, albeit the more expensive solution, is to invest in a lock that requires a custom key that cannot be duplicated.

"Do they not understand that the next customer that comes by and grabs this lock off of the shelf, that they have a key to their house?" said Peifer.

A possible key to danger, when consumers unknowingly risk security for convenience and lower prices.

Copyright 2013 America Now. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Hidden playground hazards

    Recognizing hidden playground hazards

    Playgrounds may be for fun and games, but they can be very dangerous if not properly maintained and monitored. About one-third of all playground accidents result in severe injuries including fractures,
    If you think the common playground a great place to let your kids enjoy themselves, you may want to think twice.
  • Investigation: The Panhandler scam

    Investigation: The Panhandler scam

    Friday, February 8 2013 10:15 PM EST2013-02-09 03:15:07 GMT
    Seems we see more and more of them every week -- panhandlers claiming to be in need of a helping hand. But are their claims real? Panhandlers -- on street corners, at plaza entrances, even on highway
    Seems we see more and more of them every week -- panhandlers claiming to be in need of a helping hand.

    But are their claims real?
  • Does lip balm dry out your lips?

    Do lip balm products dry out your lips?

    If you hear the words "heavy user" or "addict," one of the last things you think about is lip balm. Some people say they just can't stop applying lip balm products, and others claim they can't find a
    If you hear the words "heavy user" or "addict," one of the last things you think about is lip balm. Some people say they just can't stop applying lip balm products, and others claim they can't find a brand that works.
Powered by WorldNow