Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Post Pictures of Your House Key Online

Did you just move into a new home? Think twice before posting that classic photo of your keys. When you’ve just purchased a new home, you might be tempted to post that classic picture of your house keys, either on their own or with you proudly showing them off. Don’t do it. Most photos these days are taken on smartphones, with very high-definition cameras that are able to pick up every notch on a key. Once criminals have a photo of your key, there are several ways they can make a physical copy. A photo of a key can be fed into most commercial computer-aided design programs to produce a digital outline. Background items in the photo — such as other keys, hands, wedding rings, etc. — can be used for scale and size, and shadows can be used to estimate the depth of ridges. This digital outline can then be loaded into a key lathe or even a 3D printer to produce a working copy of your key. In addition, your exact key can be ordered online. If your key has a code stamped on the head, an exact copy can be obtained from the manufacturer. While this is a major convenience for most people, it also means criminals can zoom in on the code they see in your social media posts and have a copy of your key sent right to their mailbox.