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How to Know if Your Hotel Room is Secure

How to Know if Your Hotel Room is Secure

Hotel room door key

Traveling is a fun adventure for some, stressful for others. However, the one thing all travelers have in common is wanting their temporary home to feel like a safe space in an unfamiliar place. But how can you know for sure that your hotel room is secure? Pop-A-Lock is here to give you a few helpful tips!

Hotel door smart keys


How should I book? Ensuring your safety while traveling starts when you are booking a hotel. Experts say it is better to book online, thereby avoiding the need to give out sensitive information over the counter where it’s possible it will be overheard by strangers.

How do I keep my information safe? When you do get to the hotel, it may be helpful to be extra cautious even when interacting directly with the concierge. Try writing down your information and handing it to the concierge instead of speaking it out loud. This tip can be especially helpful for solo female travelers as it can deter someone from trying to follow you to your room.

What floor is best to book? You may also want to avoid booking rooms on the ground floor, as they are more vulnerable to break-ins from the outside. It is also best to book rooms between floors two and six; in case of a fire, rescue ladders can typically reach up to the sixth floor of a hotel.

What about hotel amenities? Try to steer clear of rooms near ice/vending machines. These rooms can be more noisy since there will be greater foot traffic in the area, and criminals are known to frequent the dark and secluded corners of these areas. Floors with conference or meeting rooms should also be avoided, since there is an increased number of people who are not staying at the hotel walking around.

hotel booking online

The Room

Once you are safely in your hotel room, it is time to do a security sweep of the space. There are a few things you should check, and a few extra precautions you might want to take:

  • Check hiding places: The first thing you should do when you get into the room is keep the door open while you check every part of the room where someone could be hiding. This includes areas like showers, closets, and behind curtains. Once you are certain that nobody else is in the room with you, close and lock the door.
  • Safes: There is much discourse about whether the provided safes are reliable places to store important documents, such as passports, flight tickets, and money. Some say that the hotel safes are your best bet for securing your belongings, while others recommend bringing an extra layer of security in the form of a portable safe or portable travel lock. Below you can find links to a few recommended products for this kind of security:
  • Locks: Check all locks to ensure that each one is working properly. This includes the deadbolt on the hotel room door, the safe, and any lockable cabinets or drawers that you may want to use during your stay.
  • Doors and windows: Check any door that connects to another room and make sure that it is locked. Check all windows and make sure they are locked. If you want to keep a window open, see if there is any way for someone to get inside the room using that window. If your room has a balcony, can somebody get onto your balcony from the balcony of a neighboring room?
Hotel Mornings

Do’s and Don’ts

After you’ve safely checked in, gotten to your room, and taken a look around, it is crucial to keep in mind that you need to be looking out for your own safety throughout the entire stay. Here’s a list of some do’s and don’ts for your hotel stay:


Keep a hand on your luggage at all times. When carrying luggage through a hotel lobby, be wary of where it is in relation to you. Try to keep it in front of or next to you, or give it to someone you are with so they can keep an eye on it.

Use doorstops. Placing a doorstop under the door to keep it closed is an important safety step, especially at night.

Make it look as if you are in your room, always. Even when you are not there, making it look like you are can deter intruders from trying to come inside. A few ways to do this include:

  • Leaving the TV on just loud enough to where it can be heard through the door.
  • Leave the Do Not Disturb sign on the door (timing is a factor here, since this may interfere with housekeeping)
  • Leave a light on. This is especially important when you are going out and expecting to be back only after the sun has set.

Know your emergency exit plan. Whether you ask the concierge for a map, or scout out your emergency exit plan for yourself, it is good to know where to go in an unfamiliar setting if there were ever an emergency.


Connect to hotel Wi-Fi without a VPN. Like coffee shops or airport Wi-Fi networks, hotel networks are public, and therefore prone to hackers. If you are planning on connecting to your hotel’s Wi-Fi network, be sure to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Give anyone personal information over the phone. There have been several instances of criminals calling into the hotel and asking to be patched through to a specific room. They will then speak to you and tell you that your card was declined, invalid, or otherwise not charged. They will ask for your card number, effectively stealing that information from you. To avoid this, tell whoever is calling that you will come to the front and speak to them directly.

Prop the door open. Ever. If you are traveling with friends or family and staying in separate rooms, it is not smart to prop or leave doors open for easier access. This can be seen as an open invitation for intruders and burglars to come in and rummage through your belongings. Rather than propping the door open, ask for additional copies of room key cards so everyone you’re with can access each room with ease.


Your safety while traveling is an important factor that can influence your entire trip. Protecting your personal information, checking every part of your hotel room, and keeping belongings and personal data secure are crucial steps to ensuring your peace of mind. Be sure to follow these helpful tips and tricks next time you are on the road or on vacation!

5 Signs Your Lock Might Need to be Replaced

5 Signs Your Lock Might Need to be Replaced

We depend on our locks daily. The motions of turning our keys or flipping the deadbolt switch behind us are so  route, we probably don’t think about it at all.  We simply expect our doors to lock securely. But like any other piece of hardware, locks are susceptible to damage and erode over time. To not risk compromising your home’s security, check up on your locks every now and then — they may need a little care, especially if they display any of the following warning signs.

5 Signs That Lock Needs To Go

1. Damaged or malfunctioning

This is perhaps the most obvious — and urgent — sign your lock needs to be replaced. If your lock is damaged in any way, you may experience issues turning the key or, in the worst case, the door may fail to lock or open entirely. If this happens with your door even once, it’s best to be proactive and look into replacement options before you risk a complete lock-out.

2. Wear and tear

Despite what our kitchen appliances may think, locks are probably the pieces of household hardware that see the most daily use. But because we’re constantly locking and unlocking our doors, the locks themselves are subjected to more wear, making them more likely to break down over time. This is especially true if your locks came with your home or apartment, since it’s difficult to tell how old they are, or if previous owners used excessive force on the lock. Exterior locks can also deteriorate as a result of being subjected to the natural elements. When locks begin to rust, they weaken from the inside, making for a difficult lock-up but an easy break-in.

3. New home or apartment

Whenever you’re moving  into a  home or apartment, replacing the old, pre-existing locks is the first step to shoring up your security. In most cases, property managers and landlords will not change out locks that are still in working condition, regardless of whether these locks have served multiple homeowners or renters.  This poses a potential security risk since previous  owners or renters may still have keys in their possession, in addition to any friends or family members they made key copies for. It’s unlikely that any of these people are ill-intentioned, but prevent any chance of a seamless break-in, it’s best to replace these old locks with new ones.

4. Recent break-in

 If you or someone in your neighborhood or apartment complex has been the victim of a recent break-in, it’s almost imperative that you get your locks replaced. If the burglar entered using brute force, it’s likely that the door or  locking mechanism is now damaged, making it all the more likely that it won’t shut or lock properly. However, if the burglar entered by picking the lock or using a poorly-hidden spare key, two things are almost certain: your locks are not secure enough, and criminals are likely to target you again. Replacing the lock is the remedy for both issues. 

5. Security changes

Often, you need to turn outward to properly assess whether or not you need a new lock. A single-cylinder lock may have served you well in the past, but if you notice a decline in the security of your neighborhood, it’s time to consider ditching your old locks for something more secure. Strings of break-ins, increased reports of violence, and vandalism are all common signs that your neighborhood is becoming less safe. When crime moves into your area, homes with weak defenses and mass-produced locks are often targeted first.

We’ll handle those locks

At Pop-A-Lock, our team of locksmiths are experts on lock replacement, ready to tackle your security needs. Just give us a call to chat about safety concerns, or to get a quote on replacing your lock. Whatever your needs, if there’s a lock involved, we’re the ones for the job.

From Our Lock Experts: How to Organize Combinations and Passwords

From Our Lock Experts: How to Organize Combinations and Passwords

multiple passwords online

Living in the 21st century means everything is online. And with the increase of information (especially of the personal nature) going onto the Web, there must be an increase in security on your end. Restricting access to your personal information and profiles is key to protecting your identity on the Internet, and keeps not only you, but the people around you, safe.

Don't Take the Easy Way Out

It would seem that the simplest thing to do would be to use the same password (or slight variations of the same password) for all of your accounts, eliminating the need to organize and remember passwords entirely. This sounds like the perfect solution on paper, however, it actually poses a greater risk to your safety than you would think. If a hacker were to get a hold of just one of your passwords or combinations, they would have an immense head start to figuring out every other one. Choosing unique and hard-to-crack passwords  for each account or profile is the first step to protecting yourself online

That being said, now we have a new issue: how do I remember all of these different passwords?

Organizing and remembering tens, even hundreds of passwords can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep your accounts, documents, and information secure.

building code website

Write It Down

The beauty of this solution is that, at the end of the day, you don’t actually have to remember any of your passwords. All you have to do is write them down and keep them organized and in one place. There are several ways to do this:

1: Use a spreadsheet. Digital spreadsheet programs, such as Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, allow for greater organization when it comes to storing multiple pieces of data. Setting up a file in one of these programs will also make it easier for you to access that information when needed, since it all lives in one place.

2: Buy a journal or planner. If writing down your passwords on your computer still seems too vulnerable for you, organize the old fashioned way! Any old notebook, journal, or spiral will do, or you can purchase a planner that is specially designed to store passwords and organize that kind of information.

3: Keep a note on your phone. Nowadays, it’s very rare that we are at our computers without having our cell phones somewhere in the vicinity. This means that adding all of your passwords and combinations into a dedicated note on your cell phone can be a fairly useful way to keep track of this information.

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Circuit Board

Use A Password Organizer

If none of these solutions fit your needs, consider using a password manager. Password managers are browser extensions or digital programs that store passwords for you. These extensions, in addition to organizing and keeping your information, also protect them with their own password security lock. That means you only need to remember one password, which makes your life that much easier! Here are a few examples of these extensions:

  • LastPass: LastPass is a password manager that encrypts and stores all of your logins in a ‘vault’. It has a web interface, as well as various plugins (including a browser extension) and a mobile app. They offer a paid plan as well as upgraded versions.
  • Bitwarden: Bitwarden is a free, open-source password manager. It’s offering is practically the same as LastPass, with the inclusion of a command-line interface, or CLI. Bitwarden can also be hosted on any platform you choose.
  • RoboForm: RoboForm is a bit different from LastPass and Bitwarden because it has a very sophisticated, highly customizable password creation feature. It’s also free with no cloud backup necessary!


All of this being said, organizing your passwords and logins does not have to be stressful. Whether you choose to go with a password journal, spreadsheet, or online password management extension, your friendly neighborhood Pop-A-Lock wants to ensure your safety, even if it’s not a job for a locksmith!

Lock Bumping and How to Prevent It

Lock Bumping and How to Prevent It

unlock with key

After locking up, most of us feel certain our possessions — and our families — are safe behind guarded doors. We think that, in the unlikely event of our home becoming a target for burglars, the only way inside would be through kicking in a door or window. But only 35% of home invasions show signs of forced entry. How are they getting in? It’s not because they’re criminal masterminds: since 2002, lock bumping has become a popular technique used by burglars to bypass the most commonplace door locks. Read up on this method, and what you can do to prevent lock bumping.

What is lock bumping?

Put simply, lock bumping is when a bump key is used to align the pins in a common cylinder lock. From here, a small amount of pressure is applied on the key, effectively “bumping” it and causing the plug to slide open. Once a way for locksmiths to safely disassemble locks, this knowledge has since made its way into criminal circles, and is now one of the most popular lock picking techniques.
Though not all home locks are vulnerable to bumping, the majority are. Cylinder locks, which have the pin tumbler mechanism mentioned above, are standard in homes across the country. Unfortunately, because they’re so commonplace, criminals are able to easily take advantage of this simple and mass-produced locking mechanism

opening lock with key

Should I Be Worried?

When in the wrong hands, bump keys are used to gain illegal entry to a residence — usually with the intention of burglary. While the possibility of your home falling victim to lock bumping may seem far-fetched, this method has been on the rise since 2002, and is so easy to execute a toddler could do it. Let’s look at the facts: 

  • Lock bump keys are extremely cheap ($3 on Amazon). This means anyone with an internet connection and a couple spare bucks can become a lock-picker.
  • Lock bumping is incredibly easy to learn, requiring no special skills or strength to execute.
  • On average, bumping a lock takes only 10 seconds, making it a quick and 
  • It’s a non-destructive lock-picking method. Since most insurance companies need to see some sign of forced entry to approve claims, this method is particularly worrisome for homeowners.
  • About 90% of US homes have cylinder locks that can be bumped

This last statistic is concerning. As someone who doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about locks and how they work, how can you tell if you have one of those cylinder locks mentioned earlier? You don’t need an expert’s help for this. If your door locks are relatively old, came with the house or apartment, and require only one key to operate, it’s a safe bet that you have a cylinder lock. 


How to prevent lock bumping

The first step you can take to prevent lock-bumping is finding a method to safeguard your locks against this technique or taking security measures to make your home less appealing to thieves. 

  • High-security locks: The best locks are the ones that can’t be picked. At the moment, there are several bump-resistant locks on the market, most of which come with a UL 437 rating and unique markings near the keyhole. (“UL” stands for “Underwriter Laboratories” which is the most commonly used rating system for mechanical locks in the US). These locks don’t use the tumbler-pin mechanism of cylinder locks, instead using tough-to-pick safety features that protect against picking or excessive force. They’re also patent protected, meaning only one company manufacturers the key and issues it to locksmiths or security companies. When choosing a lock for your home, be sure to ask your locksmith about high-security lock options. 
  • Anti-bump lock guards: If you’re on a budget, purchasing a bump-resistant guard may be the way to go. These devices are available on the internet or in hardware stores, and can be easily installed on your door. The most common bump-proof device is the thumb-turn guard, which latches on to the indoor thumb-turn part of your deadbolt, holding the lock firmly in place. However, there are disadvantages to this method since it prevents the door from unlocking on the outside. 
  • Keyless deadbolt locks: This is a popular method for homeowners looking for added security. Similar to the last method, keyless deadbolt locks can only be turned from the inside, making for less-convenient entry or exit, but they do have the added benefit of being entirely pick-proof from the outside.
  • Home security system: Though lock-picking is a swift and quiet process, burglars will be less-likely to target your home if your yard is well-lit and clear of any convenient hiding spots. The addition of home security systems and or security cameras can be a great defense as well, deterring potential thieves and alerting you to any outside threats.
CCTV Security Camera

Get a locksmith’s advice

If you’re unsure of how secure your home really is, consult one of the  experts at Pop-A-Lock. We’ll offer commercial security audits where we’ll sweep your property in search of potential security risks and provide advice on how to fortify your home. Just give us a call or check out our website for more information. We’re always happy to help a home in need.

The Rise and Fall of Physical Keys – What You Need to Know

The Rise and Fall of Physical Keys - What You Need to Know

keys in a door

As we welcome in the new year, it’s important to remain open to change and new possibilities. For those of us in the lock industry, this change comes in the form of keyless locks. We’ve long known that keys are pesky objects: they can break, get lost, or are a flat-out pain to locate when you need to get inside in a hurry. The solution? Keyless electronic locks that either require a keypad code or authentication via smartphone app to gain entry. These new, high-tech locks have risen in popularity in recent years, but even though they eliminate many issues associated with traditional key locks, they may not be the best option for your home. Read on to learn more about keyless locks and see if they’re the solution to your security needs. 

Are keys dead?

In short, yes and no. Electronic locks are relatively new, and the vast majority of homes and apartments in America are still fitted with traditional “pin and tumbler” or deadbolt locks. You’re far more likely to see electronic locks on cars than residences, but the invention is quickly gaining traction. 

As mentioned above, keyless locks were created as a solution to the problems associated with key locks. Rather than relying on a key to turn and release a door’s locking mechanism, today’s most popular electronic locks — keypad locks, smart locks, and biometric locks — are equipped with motors buried within the door itself. The motor is connected to the lock’s bolt or cylinder, activating only when stimulated by an electrical impulse. For keypad locks, this impulse is triggered when the correct code is entered, smart locks activate through a remote sensor, and biometric locks open when an approved fingerprint is scanned. 

At this time, however, electronic locks are still in their infancy. Only time will tell if traditional metal keys will endure these innovations. 

smartphone lock and key

Advantages and Disadvantages of Keyless Locks 

As a home or business owner, you should stay aware of security trends to ensure that your residence is as protected as it could be against outside threats. Part of this awareness is knowing when your current locks are outdated. But even if your locks need to be replaced, keyless locks may not be right for you. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons: 

  • Advantages: The good news with electronic locks is that you no longer need to worry about losing your keys! That’s one less thing to keep track of, or possibly break. Additionally, as long as you have a free hand, keyless locks make for easy entry since you need only punch in a code or open an app to unlock your door. Smart locks are particularly convenient if you need to let someone in while away: the majority of app-controlled locks on market allow for remote operation, meaning you can lock and unlock the door from anywhere. As for security, electronic locks offer an array of benefits. For one, they’re nearly pick-proof since the lock won’t turn unless triggered by an electrical impulse. You also don’t risk intruders gaining entry through using a spare key. Traditional “pin and tumbler” locks aren’t nearly as secure: over time, criminals have discovered a fool-proof way to pick these locks using lock bumpers. If break-ins are a frequent problem in your area, electronic locks will offer greater protection overall. 
  • Disadvantages: Having an electronic lock doesn’t always guarantee an easy entry. For keyless locks, forgetting your key-code, losing your phone, or weak internet connection as all can prevent the door from unlocking — and you can’t turn to a spare key for help. Power outages create unique issues as well: since the lock is controlled through electrical impulse, a power failure can result in the door remaining locked or unlocked until the power is restored. For either of these lock-out scenarios, it’s worth mentioning that, ironically, some electronic locks have a back-up key lock in case of emergencies. (See the above for all the reasons why this is a problem.) Although electronic locks can’t be easily picked, if your access code or phone falls into the wrong hands, intruders can enter your home damage-free and just as easily as if they found a spare key. With keyless car locks, there have also been instances where the locks were hacked, though it’s still uncertain if this will become a big problem for residential electronic locks as well. 
security keypad

Pop-A-Lock Can Handle It 

No matter your lock needs, Pop-A-Lock’s expert technicians can take care of the job. We can install electronic or high-security locks quickly, at minimal cost. Just call us to get a free quote! If you’re still undecided on which lock will best suit your home’s needs, give us a call anyway. We’re always free to chat locks and help you choose. 

What Is A Certified Locksmith? How Do You Obtain A Locksmith Certification?

Locksmith Certification: What It Is And Why You Should Care

Consumers are constantly overwhelmed by the amount of choices they’re presented for any given good or service – and they aren’t all of equal quality. Locksmithing isn’t any different. If a potential customer is doing a Google search for a locksmith nearby, they are likely hit with a slew of results between Google My Business, Google Local Services, Google Ads and organic search results. Add to that the fact that they’re likely stressed if they’re in a lockout situation – how do they know who to choose for help?

There are many factors for customers to consider when looking for  a locksmith. Finding a credible locksmith should always be at the top of this list, as scammers posing as legitimate locksmiths are commonly found in online results. A great way to filter through search results  is to look for certifications, or a membership with the Associated Locksmiths of America (AOLA). Gaining specific certifications and backing from the AOLA helps professionals build credibility, and helps customers to know  that a business is legitimate.

Different Kinds of Locksmith Certifications

*Disclaimer: Certifications and licensing are NOT required for locksmiths in every state. So before you spend a lot of time trying to find a licensed locksmith in your area, first do a quick search to check if you live in a licensing state or not.

If you’re not in a licensing state, you can still look for signs of legitimacy on a locksmith’s websites. These would include things like branded trucks and uniforms, association with ALOA, a company name said when you call for service, and more.

If you state does require locksmiths to be licensed, here’s some things to know:

There are a variety of different locksmith certifications. Each one indicates a specific level of training and expertise, ensuring that customers have a trusted professional working with them. Below is a list of basic certifications a locksmith can acquire, along with what the certification entails:

  • Registered Locksmith (RL): The certification of RL indicates an individual is an active locksmith that has completed  12 classes (eight hours each) with the ALOA Continuing Education (ACE) program. Registered locksmiths can also gain certification through attending a ALOA Five or Six-Day Basic Locksmithing course, then passing the exam at the end of the course.


  • Certified Registered Locksmith (CRL): Certified Registered Locksmiths have completed the training to become an RL, but have also passed  the ten mandatory categories listed by AOLA. Additionally, CRLs have completed training in two specialized AOLA electives of their choice.
  • Certified Professional Locksmith (CPL): Certified Professional Locksmiths have gained the status of CRL, but have completed training in an additional twelve elective categories. These locksmiths have advanced knowledge of specialized areas in the field.
  • Certified Master Locksmith (CML): Certified Master Locksmiths hold the highest certification in the field. CML status indicates the individual has earned all previous certifications, and has demonstrated proficiency in 90% of the available categories of the Proficiency Registration Program created by the ALOA. These locksmiths have advanced knowledge of almost every area of locksmithing and of electronic security.


When a locksmith gains any – or all – of these certifications, their credibility is boosted. Certifications indicate the locksmith has taken the time to educate themselves on a wide range of locksmithing tactics, and will be able to find the best solution for your specific situation.

Certified Pop-A-Lock Locksmith

Find a Certified Locksmith Through Pop-A-Lock

Pop-A-Lock is proud to support professional development throughout the Pop-A-Lock organization by providing the highest quality training in conjunction with the Associated Locksmiths of America. All of our locksmiths are encouraged and supported to participate in the internationally recognized certification program produced by ALOA.

As outlined above, the certification process requires the applicant to undergo a series of difficult testing covering the range of Automotive, Commercial, Residential and Industrial locksmith and safe categories. There is a strong emphasis on Life Safety throughout the Certification process in addition to ongoing updates for relevance to the industry.

Pop-A-Lock also provides support to the industry at-large by providing instructors for various ALOA education classes conducted throughout the year as well as providing an instructor for the ALOA ACE certified instructor course.

If your local Pop-A-Lock is located in a state that doesn’t require licensing, you can still trust Pop-A-Lock! We pride ourselves on providing only the best service to our customers. Even in states without legal requirements, Pop-A-Lock locksmiths go through appropriate training to ensure they can provide you with the best, safest and most efficient services.

Contact Pop-A-Lock Today!

By contacting Pop-A-Lock, you can rest easy knowing you will receive help from a highly trained technician. Pop-A-Lock is proud to retain one of the largest collections of ALOA certified professionals in the world, as evidenced by the results of over 2 decades of training and testing across North America!

Our locksmithing professionals are friendly, knowledgeable, and ready to help find a solution for your unique needs. Contact us today by calling  (800) POP-A-LOCK or visit our site for a quote today!

I Think I Was The Victim Of A Locksmith Scam, What Do I Do Now?

Unfortunately, locksmith scams are an all-too-common occurrence throughout the United States. After being locked out of their home or car, an unsuspecting person will search for local locksmiths online, hoping to get back in quickly and cheaply. However, most do not realize that locksmith scammers hide in online results for companies that don’t exist. They make their websites look legitimate, providing a phone number and fake address. The “locksmith” often arrives late, and will bill you hundreds of dollars more than they estimated after breaking the lock on your door.

If this circumstance has happened to you, do not feel ashamed! These scammers are prevalent throughout the industry, and this unfortunate occurrence happens to hundreds of people every year.  Below we have listed some tell-tale signs that your “locksmith” is a scammer, along with what action to take if you find yourself a victim of a locksmith scam.

Signs Of A Locksmith Scam

  • Estimated cost is too low: Scammers will often advertise a very low price, in order to lure you away from legitimate locksmiths. They may claim online or over the phone that the job will cost between $15-35, only to bombard you with questionable service fees after they finish the job.  Do not be fooled by low prices, as any credible locksmith will charge around $100 for a lockout.
  • No full estimate upfront: Be sure to ask for a written estimate before the work is completed, with all additional fees included. Scammers often bill hundreds of dollars in additional charges, claiming the added fees are because you called during “emergency hours” or there are “mileage charges, minimums, service fees” etc. If they refuse to give you a written estimate, or if the estimate is way too high, they may be attempting to scam you.
  • No marked vehicle or uniform: Legitimate locksmiths will usually arrive in a company marked vehicle and uniform, in a timely manner. Be wary of any “locksmith” who arrives late and/or without a uniform or marked vehicle. Ask for the locksmith’s identification upon arrival, as scammers will usually refuse to show you any form of ID and become hostile when you ask for credentials. Scammers also may have an answering service that only refers to the company as “locksmith service” or “locksmith company,” so be sure to ask for a specific name when you call.
  • Accepts only cash: If the locksmith tells you they only accept cash or debit, they may be a scammer. Credit cards are avoided by scammers because they are easier to trace. Any reputable locksmith will be able to take credit, debit or cash payment from customers.
  • “Have” to drill your lock: A HUGE sign that a locksmith is a scammer is that they claim they “have to” drill your lock.  They may claim it’s a high security lock, when it’s not,  or that your lock is too new. There are a variety of other “explanations” they may use to justify drilling the lock. However, as a general rule of thumb, do NOT let anyone drill your lock. Certified, reputable locksmiths have the tools and expertise to pick almost any lock. Scammers will leave you with a broken lock, and a bill for hundreds of dollars.
  • No receipt after you pay: Always ask for a receipt after you pay a locksmith. Reputable locksmiths should have no problem giving you an itemized receipt after the work is complete. The receipt will likely  have the company letterhead, logo, or contact information, along with a list of each of the charges. A good locksmith will explain each of the charges ahead of time, and will provide information for you to contact the company after the job.


What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed

Unfortunately, these scammers are good at what they do, and odds are, if you’ve already provided payment you will not be able to get your money back. However, if you feel that you’ve been the victim of a scam, there are some steps you can take:


  • Call the state’s attorney general’s office: Report the locksmith to your state’s Attorney General’s office immediately. They will investigate the “locksmith” company and take action if they feel appropriate.


  • Call a reputable locksmith: If a scammer has tampered with your locks, you may need to have them rekeyed for your safety. Reputable locksmiths, such as Pop-A-Lock, will also be able to fix the damage done by the scammer, and replace the broken lock.

Trusted Locksmiths at Pop-A-Lock

When you call a locksmith, make sure they are qualified by being a member of the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA). This organization vets locksmiths, and ensures you can trust the expertise and knowledge of the technician dispatched to you. Established organizations such as Pop-A-Lock have technicians that are certified, qualified and ready to help you with your locksmithing needs. Pop-A-Lock employees will always arrive in a marked vehicle and uniform, and will be ready to discuss all charges transparently with you upfront. We have the tools to pick almost any lock without damage, and are always ready to help our valued customers.

Contact Pop-A-Lock Today!

Locked out of your home or car? Contact Pop-A-Lock today! We provide a 24/7 emergency lockout services, and provide free service to caregivers who have accidentally locked their child inside their car through our PAL Saves Kids program.

Founded in Lafayette, Louisiana, Pop-A-Lock has quickly become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the United States. All of our technicians are certified, experienced, and ready to help you find the best solution for your individual needs.  You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online for a quote today!

Does Picking A Lock Damage The Lock?

Being locked out of your home or car is a stressful experience, even on the best of days. And it always seems to happen at the most inconvenient time – when you’re in a rush, or have groceries in the car that need to get to a fridge ASAP, etc.

The best way to get back in quickly and safely is to call a locksmith professional. However, many people are wary of this as they’re afraid the locksmith will damage their lock in the picking process, costing them more money in the end. And, unfortunately, if you aren’t using a reputable locksmith, this can happen.

However, any professional, trustworthy locksmith will know how to pick your lock and get you back into your home or car without damaging the lock. You may wonder, how do credible locksmiths pick locks safely and efficiently to help you gain access to your home?

locksmith technician picking a door lock

How Do Locksmiths Pick Locks?

First and foremost, it’s important to know that when it comes to picking a lock, any credible, professional locksmiths will only use drills as a last resort. Locksmiths at established organizations, such as Pop-A-Lock, have the training and expertise to help you get back into your home or car quickly and efficiently, without drilling your lock. They carry tools specifically designed to work on almost any lock without causing damage. Upon arrival to your home, a credible locksmith will evaluate all locks on external doors to determine which lock will be the easiest to “pick,” and choose this location to work on. After using their tools, a qualified locksmith should be able to get you back inside without damage. Be wary of any locksmith who immediately pulls out the drill, especially without evaluating all of the options to get back inside.

The Importance Of Choosing A Reputable Locksmith

Although you may be tempted, stay away from any “DIY” lock picking methods online that claim to save you money and time. These methods will cause damage to the lock, or destroy the lock entirely. Taking the DIY route will lead to spending more money and time in the end, as you have to hire a professional to install new locks. Common DIY lock picking methods include:

  • Pushing items into the keyhole such as hair pins, bobby pins or paper clips
  • Using Credit Cards or items with a hard plastic corner
  • Creating a “lock picking” set from household items
  • Using a drill on the lock or doorknob structure
  • Using sharp items such as knives
  • Using soda cans or plastic bottles

How To Find A Credible Locksmith

Only professional technicians can truly pick locks without causing damage. When searching online for locksmiths, be wary of scams and local listings with prices that seem too low. A credible locksmith will have an established website, phone number, and will charge around $100 for a lockout. They should arrive in a marked vehicle and uniform, and will be happy to explain all charges upfront after evaluating your personal circumstances.

In addition to Google/Bing, you can use one of the  three of the most vetted associations/membership groups for locksmiths in North America to find a professional:

  • Findalocksmith.com
  • Keypro.com
  • popalock.com

How Pop-A-Lock Can Help

When it comes to home or car lockouts, the professionals at Pop-A-Lock can help you get back in quickly and efficiently. We offer a 24/7 lockout service (at participating locations), and will always be transparent with our clients. We will discuss all options with you, and provide a solution that will best suit your needs. Our technicians have the tools and expertise to get you back inside, with little to no damage caused to your locks.

Contact Pop-A-Lock Today!

Created in 1991 by law enforcement agents in Lafayette, Louisiana, Pop-A-Lock has grown to become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the country! We provide extensive training to all of our technicians, ensuring you receive the highest quality service possible every time.  You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online to receive a quote today!

What Are High Security Locks And Keys?

When it comes to home security, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. As a homeowner, you may desire a higher sense of security for your residence than traditional locks or deadbolts can provide. You may have previously experienced a home invasion, or have chosen to keep valuables stored within the property. Maybe you live in a neighborhood with a higher crime rate, or you simply want more peace of mind that you and your family are safe. Whatever your reason, if you’re looking to increase your home’s security, consider installing a system with high security keys and locks. These systems provide better security than a traditional lock and key, and are a great option to discuss with your locksmith.

What Are High Security Locks?

High security locks are specifically designed to provide better protection for those that install them. These locks are often equipped with reinforcement such as rods and plates, deterring criminals as they quickly realize they cannot gain entry into the property through their typical methods of picking or drilling.

High security locks may also contain a more complicated pin system, meaning the hardware is designed so only high security keys can unlock them. These locks use different technology to secure the cylinder, and are very effective at maximizing your home’s security. Though high security locks can be implemented in most existing lock hardware systems, be sure to discuss with your locksmith the best method to add these locks to your system.

Finally, high security lock systems are typically equipped with reinforced plates on the door frame. These plates make it much harder for someone to kick your door in or break the door frame. Through all of these components, high security lock and key systems make your home very hard to break into, adding an undesirable amount of noise and time spent outside to those with criminal intentions. These individuals often aim to enter a home as quickly and quietly as possible, looking to minimize the risk of being caught.

What Are High Security Keys?

When it comes to implementing a high security system, the most important component is the installation of a more complex lock. However, along with the new lock, your locksmith can make you a set of high security restricted keys. These keys are much harder to get copied, as only one locksmith in your area can make copies. The blanks used to make these keys are restricted to only one locksmith per area, and most of these locksmiths have a process for ensuring only authorized people can get copies. The locksmith may track the amount of keys that have been made, keep a formal record of authorized individuals, or require ID upon asking to copy.

Additional Security Measures to consider

It’s important to note that while adding a high security key and lock system to your home will contribute to better overall security, the system is not as effective without implementing other safety measures on your property. Make sure you address other potential security weaknesses in your home such as:

  • Entryways: Make sure all entrances to your home are well-lit. Keeping your outdoor lights on at night deters criminals as neighbors or anyone passing by can see that someone is trying to break in.
  • Landscaping: It’s best to avoid shrubbery that obscures windows. If you do have trees or bushes that block first floor windows, make sure to keep the branches trimmed down. These are often hiding places for people attempting to break in.
  • Invest in a Home Security System: If you are concerned about your home’s security, consider investing in a security system. Openly display that you do have a system, placing signs outside the property or a sticker on windows. These practices significantly decrease attempts to break in.

Need Help With Your Home’s Security? Call Pop-A-Lock Today!

When you are looking to install a high security key and lock system, it’s always best to have an expert take care of the job. Trying to do it yourself may damage the lock, as these systems are often very complicated and take the expertise of a certified and trained locksmith. Pop-A-Lock can help with installation and creation of your high security keys, giving you peace of mind that the job was done right.

Along with installing your high security key and lock system, Pop-A-Lock can help advise you on the best practices to keep your home safe. Founded in Lafayette, Louisiana, Pop-A-Lock has quickly become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the United States. All of our technicians are certified, experienced, and ready to help you find the best security solution for your individual needs. You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online to discuss your lock questions. Curious about the efficiency of your home’s current security? Download our free home security audit today.

How Changes In Temperature and Weather Affect Your Locks

Seasonal changes are often exciting. After a long winter, many look forward to the time spent outdoors in warmer weather brought in by spring. As summer comes to a close, cooler temperatures are appreciated as many prepare for the upcoming holiday seasons. However, as homeowners prepare for the change in seasons themselves, they also must be aware of the potential effects of these changes on external locks and entrances to their home.

Many do not realize that the change of seasons can have a major impact on their home. When the temperature dramatically increases or decreases in a short span of time, there is a higher chance that you will experience issues with your doors and locking mechanisms. A lot of the time, seemingly random problems that arise with your locks can be explained by seasonal changes.

Cold Weather Effects

As the fall and winter seasons arrive, the change in temperature affects your doors and locking mechanisms in a variety of ways. Doors that are made of wood are especially prone to problems during seasonal changes, as lower levels of humidity affect the material. Freezing temperatures and the absence of moisture in the air can cause your door frame to contract, leading to a poor fit between the door and the lock itself. This contraction means the door will begin to warp around your locks, and may lead to your deadbolt suddenly not being able to lock or unlock properly.

Aside from contractions with the door and door frame, if there is existing moisture in the lock, you may experience issues with your key not being able to turn. Moisture in the mechanisms of the lock may freeze over, causing your key to become stuck or much harder than usual to put into the lock.

Hot Weather Effects

Just as colder weather causes your door and door frame to contract, warmer weather can cause these mechanisms to expand. Higher levels of moisture in the air cause wooden doors to warp around the lock and press rigidly against the door frame. This expansion can lead to problems with your locks, as they suddenly start to “jam” more often. This means it becomes more difficult for the key to turn in the lock properly, or that the key can become stuck in the lock itself.

Homeowners must also be aware of the effects of warm temperatures on keys themselves. When left in a hot car for too long, or left in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, the keys can begin to distort. Distorted keys can cause problems with the lock, as they do not properly fit in the mechanism anymore.

How Do I Fix My Lock?

If you have noticed that your locking mechanisms have been affected by a recent change in temperature or weather, the best option is to call a reputable locksmith. These technicians will evaluate your circumstances and advise you on the best plan of action. Depending on the degree that your door or door frame has warped, they may decide to simply fix your lock or rekey it. In some cases, the home may benefit from the installation of a new lock entirely if it has become too incompatible with the door’s changes over time.

If you have found that your wooden door continually becomes warped, it may be time to consider installing a door of an alternative material. Weatherproof materials such as fiberglass, steel or aluminum are good choices, and will withstand changes in temperature and humidity without affecting your locks.

Contact Pop-A-Lock Today!

If you have arrived home to find that your door is jammed, or the key will not turn in the lock, do not panic! Your first step should be to contact a reputable locksmith, such as Pop-A-Lock, to help you gain entry to the home, staying away from online “DIY” methods that may lead to more damage on your system. Pop-A-Lock provides a 24/7 emergency lockout service, that will get you back into your home quickly and efficiently, without damage.

Pop-A-Lock was founded in Lafayette, Louisiana, and has quickly become the largest professional locksmithing franchise in the United States. All of our technicians are certified, experienced, and ready to help you find the best solution for your individual needs. You can call (800) POP-A-LOCK or contact us online for a quote today!