It's a danger most consumers don't consider.
When you purchase a new security lock for your home, you may not realize that strangers may also have keys to fit that lock.
KCBD NewsChannel 11's Investigative team browsed the shelves of local home improvement stores and found at least five deadbolts with the same key for various brands.
We learned that locks that are mass produced rotate the thousands of codes they ship to retailers, and we wanted to know how often those retailers are rotating their inventory.
We 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."
Key manufacturers tout the convenience of matching keys to customers who want the lock on the front door to match the back door.
Lock expert, Eric Cowart, VP of Operations for Pop-A-Lock here in Lubbock said although this feature is convenient for builders, it still puts the consumer at a risk.
KCBD NewsChannel 11: "If I'm redoing my house or if I suddenly want to change my locks what is your advice? What is the safest way to get a solid key, solid lock? "
Cowart: "Call a locksmith that's licensed."
Cowart said it's vital to avoid leaving your keys lying around in plain sight for others to see, such as hanging your keys up on key holders at the gym, as the numbers on your house key may hold the key to your safety.
"They can write them down and take them to a locksmith and try to get a key made," Cowart said.
Even if you invest in a custom key that says it cannot be duplicated, Cowart said there is no law that states a locksmith cannot make another one. The best bet is to keep your keys to yourself whenever possible.
Although car keys are harder to duplicate, Cowart cautions against handing them out for long periods of time.
"The ones you probably want to watch out for would be a valet service," Cowart said.
Cowart said if you do have to hand over your car key for something like an oil change, always separate your car key from your house key. This will help ensure your family's safety by lowering the chances of someone writing down the numbers on your house key.
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