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The Dangers of Proximity Keys and Push to Start Cars

The remote proximity key – also known as “keyless entry” – allows you to open your vehicle and start it without touching the electronic key fob, a small device that transmits a code to a computer in the car when in close range. In vehicles with keyless, push-button ignition, the fob is recognized by the vehicle to authorize its operation. The fob can stay in the driver’s pocket or purse, as the ignition switch is a button on the dash.

This increasingly common technology has become a part of everyday cars, not just luxury models as it once was. Some car manufacturers even have smartphone apps, whose functions include remote starting.

While keyless entry and push-button ignition technology is convenient, it is not without dangers. In fact, a recent New York Times report found proximity keys could be partially responsible for dozens of fatalities in the United States.

The article tells the story of a Florida man who drove his SUV into his home garage and entered his house with the key fob, believing that the car was turned off. About 30 hours later, the man was found dead, having been killed by the carbon monoxide that engulfed his home while he was asleep. According to the Times, the man was among at least 25 people who were killed by carbon monoxide in the  United States since 2006, after a keyless-ignition vehicle was accidentally left running in a garage.

Safety watchdog groups have documented instances of drivers pushing the button to stop the engine before putting the vehicle in park, allowing their vehicle to roll away. Many car systems emit warnings or even shut down after the driver exits the car, and the fob is detected leaving with them. You could leave the fob in the car’s cup holder, for example, then after you exit, the vehicle doesn’t know to turn off.

Hybrid cars pose problems as well. They are very quiet when in electric mode – which they are often in when sitting still after parking. A driver can assume the car is shut down because the engine isn’t running. However, the vehicle may not be truly off. The engine could restart itself, to adjust the climate control, for instance, and therefore send carbon monoxide into the home. Make sure that whenever you enter your home,  any car parked in the garage is shut off. Being extra careful about this can prevent a tragedy.

Allow the Experts to Duplicate or Replace Your Fob or Key

If you need a new key or fob for your vehicle, you need a highly skilled and trained professional to ensure it will start your vehicle. At Pop-A-Lock, our key replacement services are affordable and reliable. We can get the job done much quicker – and cheaper – than the dealership. Call Pop-A-Lock today for help with:

  • transponder keys
  • fobs
  • keyless remotes
  • dealer chip keys programmed on-site
  • remotes programmed
  • electronic keys
  • key replacements
  • VATS keys

We are available 24/7 to meet your automobile key needs. Pop-A-Lock technicians can create the key you need on the spot. Our technicians are trained to program transponder, VAT, and smart keys for any vehicle. Our work is of the highest quality – guaranteed!

When Should I Rekey My Locks?

The condition of your locks is probably something that rarely crosses your mind, but rekeying your locks is a practice that can significantly improve the security of your home. Key locks provide security for our families and possessions and give us peace of mind, but if we don’t rekey our locks occasionally, the level of protection they provide can diminish.

The Difference Between Changing Locks and Rekeying Locks

Changing locks is pretty self-explanatory: it means you replace the old locks with new ones. For example, you may change your locks if you want to upgrade to an electric lock system, or if you want them to better match the new paint colors or finishes in your home. Rekeying locks is different. When you rekey a lock, you adjust it so that it no longer works with the current set of keys. Once a lock is rekeyed, the keys you  had for it will not be able to open it.

Lock mechanisms contain key pins that correspond to the keys that open a specific lock. When you rekey a lock, you adjust the workings of the key pins so that a new key is needed to open the lock. A locksmith will need the current key in order to rekey a lock. This practice will  improve the security of your home, especially if pins are added.

When To Rekey Your Locks

The following are common reasons to rekey your locks:

  1. Moving Into a New Home: If you buy a home that someone else has previously lived in, it’s a great idea to rekey the locks. You want to be certain that only  people you know and trust have access to your new home. Rekeying locks on a previously owned home helps you ensure that only you and your family members have the keys that can grant access to your home.
  2. Changing Older Locks: If you’ve lived in your home for a while, or if you’ve recently bought an older home, rekeying your locks is a great way to improve security. Lock mechanisms can get dirty and worn down over time, which  leaves them vulnerable to break-ins. Rekeying older locks is a great way to decrease the chances of successful tampering.
  3. You’ve Lost Your Keys: If you’ve lost your keys, rekeying your locks is paramount to the continued safety of your home. There is no  reason to risk a stranger using your keys to enter your home, especially if your keyring had any access or address information on it. Getting rekeyed locks and new keys is the best way to ensure that you and your family remain secure in this situation.

If you have questions about changing locks, rekeying locks, or need assistance determining which option is right for your situation, an experienced Pop-A-Lock locksmith can assist you. Our trained and certified technicians have extensive experience with both replacement and rekeying of locks, and quality work is our priority. Visit the Pop-A-Lock website to find our location nearest you.

I Think Someone May Have Tampered With My Locks, What Do I Do Now?

If you have noticed that your home lock has been tampered with, or if it appears that someone tried to break in, you are probably experiencing feelings of anxiety, fear, and stress.

This blog will explain exactly what to look for if you believe your lock was tampered with, as well as detailing what actions to take with the help of an experienced locksmith.

Signs Your Lock Was Tampered With

If you suspect your lock has been tampered with, start with looking for these common signs:

Brute force. Signs of brute force include bent deadbolts or latches, warped doors or door frames, and the presence of small paint circles caused by moving the locking fixture. Criminals will often try to drill through a deadbolt, bash in a lock, or kick in a door. These actions often leave a trail of splintered wood and twisted metal.

Lock does not function. If there are no visible signs of damage, you may notice that the key does not turn properly. This could be an indicator the lock has been tampered with.

Bumping: By using a “bump key” – a dummy key of sorts – and hammering on the lock, a criminal can open the lock and gain access. When bumping is done correctly, it leaves little to no evidence. However, sometimes inexperienced burglars can leave identifiable marks. Signs of bumping include new nicks around the keyhole and shiny metal edges that look like they have recently been hit.

Picking: This occurs when a burglar employs small tools such as a pin or screwdriver to turn the lock and rake the pin tumblers. Once the tumblers catch the lock, the doorknob will turn. While picking requires much skill and patience, the method is gentler than bumping and may not leave a trace. A common sign of picking is tiny scratch marks and some exposed metal around the keyhole. It’s not likely to show dents or warped bolts.

How to Take Action

If you believe your lock has been tampered with, you will want to contact a locksmith as soon as possible. Take inventory of all your valuables and let your neighbors know about the attempted break-in. You may want to have a deadbolt lock installed, rekey, or install a new lock.

Contact Pop-A-Lock for Lock Rekeying and Repair

A trained and highly skilled Pop-A-Lock technician can repair your locks quickly and at an affordable price. We can repair or install all lock brands, models, and types. Our technicians will come to you, always arriving in a marked vehicle and uniform. They are fast, reliable, and have all the tools and equipment needed to get the job done quickly and correctly.

You can always count on the lock and key professionals at Pop-A-Lock for all your lock repair and installation needs. Don’t put your safety at risk by not having your locks installed by a professional. Call 1-800-POP-A-LOCK today if you need immediate service. We are available 24/7 to serve you.

What is Key Control and Why Should My Business Care?

Security is important to all businesses – from large corporations to locally owned mom-and-pop stores. Business owners have many responsibilities, security being a major concern for all. Businesses throughout the country benefit greatly from key control, a popular method of maintaining more control over your commercial property. Key control is essentially a system of tracking which employees have keys and what areas they have access to with those keys.

Employees account for over 40% of occupational fraud and $3.7 trillion in lost revenue each year for all businesses, according to the 2014 Global Fraud Report. Much of this fraud and lost revenue occurs because keys are issued to employees and never returned when the employees leave the company.

A key control system is critical to not only the security of a facility, personnel and equipment, but can also save you money. Key control, which ensures that certain keys are only used by authorized people, involves strategies for keeping tabs on which keys are carried by employees. Key control also involves the implementation of strategies  that prevent employees from giving away duplicate keys to unauthorized users.

If you don’t have a key control system in place already, consider one for your business to increase employee safety, decrease workplace crime, and give you peace of mind.

What Are The Types of Key Control Systems?

With key control, there are mechanical systems and electronic systems. The differences between the two are as follows:

  • Mechanical systems are an effective form of key control that enhances your facility’s overall security when used correctly. Simply put, these systems consist of a key with a plastic peg attached.  The pegs are unique to each employee, serving to prevent keys from being removed unless the employee has the peg with specific clearance to remove it. The keys are also locked in a numbered port, and can only be removed after an access peg has been inserted. Mechanical systems help track which employees have accessed the keys, as their individual peg cannot be removed until the borrowed key is returned.
  • Electronic systems are a more advanced form of key control  that involve the newer technology of microchips . Keys are assigned to unique chips that are then inserted into a reader.  The reader records when an authorized employee takes a key, and when it was returned. This advanced kind of key control system also lets others know which employee  has a key if they request it and creates an audit trail of every key used and who used them.

What Are the Five Security Levels of Key Control?

The five security levels to key control are:

Level 5 – Key control systems with Level 5 security rely mostly on the honor system. This system has the lowest level of security and consists of unrestricted keys that employees are simply told not to make copies of. Employees are also warned not to give their keys to others and are trusted to comply with these rules, but there is no way for employers to track compliance.

Level 4 – Systems with Level 4 security involve unrestricted keys, however they are marked “do not duplicate.” This disclaimer is only semi effective, as the keys technically could still be copied anywhere. However, the majority of reputable locksmiths and key professionals  will not copy them. The Associated Locksmiths of America, a nationwide trade organization for locksmiths, calls the “Do Not Copy” disclaimer a misleading tactic because it provides a false sense of security.

Level 3 – Systems with Level 3 security involve the use of restricted keys. These keys provide higher security as they can only be obtained through a single supplier. Restricted keys cannot be found at retailers,  as they have to be obtained through the original source. The supplier of the key has rules set forth to prevent unauthorized duplication, giving business owners a certainty that only the keys they hand out will be able to access the designated restricted area

Level 2 – Key control systems with Level 2 security contain an even more restrictive set of keys. These are  keys are patented, giving an extra boost of security as they are protected by patent law. If an individual attempts to sell or duplicate this key without getting permission from the patent holder, they could face legal penalties.

Level 1 – Systems with Level 1 security provide the highest level of security possible with a key control system. This level of security involves factory-only patented keys used to restrict access to designated areas. These keys have no possible way to be cut locally. In order to make copies,  users have to send an authorization request to the original factory to have keys cut. In Level 1 systems, strict records are kept of who has access to each key, and when each key was used.

Commercial Security Locksmithing by Pop-A-Lock

A key control system will help improve the overall security of your business. Allow the knowledgeable and experienced locksmiths at Pop-A-Lock to install the right system for your business.

Pop-A-Lock is the No. 1 commercial locksmith in the United States. When you use our commercial lock services, you can rest assured that your business locks are repaired or installed correctly by highly skilled technicians.

You can rely on Pop-A-Lock® to provide high quality, professional service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 1-800-POP-A-LOCK today to learn more about how can help set up the right key control system for your business.