Oklahoma Man Calls Locksmith for Burglary

(Via Newson6) Early Sunday morning an Oklahoma locksmith responded to an emergency lockout call in Tulsa. When the locksmith arrived on scene he was met by one man, Alexandro Valero, who claimed to be locked out of his home at about 8 AM. The locksmith assisted the man by opening the door, but once the door was finally opened it revealed that there were actually people in the home at that time. Those individuals happened to be the actual homeowners. At this point Mr. Valero ran, leaving the homeowners and locksmith likely confused. Valero returned to the residence later to apologize and was arrested by police and is facing first degree burglary charges. Luckily the homeowners were there to thwart this burglary attempt, but the truth is it should not have occurred in the first place. Additional details could emerge, but it will be interesting to see if the locksmith had asked for identification or for some type of verification that it was Mr. Valero’s home.

Before opening the door, the locksmith should have asked for identification so that he would have been able to match the customer’s ID address to the address he is completing the unlock service at. In some cases, like a rental unit, this may not be entirely possible. A locksmith should still be able to verify that it is indeed that individual’s residence by asking for a utility bill with a name that matches that individual’s identification. In a situation where a customer is unable to provide this information, a locksmith should contact authorities to ensure that they would not be liable for a theft in this type of scenario. Situations such as these are another reason that lawmakers are looking to clamp down on unlicensed locksmiths. An unlicensed locksmith would, theoretically, be less likely to take preventative steps that ensure the individual they are unlocking the door for is a resident, since they are less wary of any repercussions.

What can you do?

One way that you can prevent your home from being struck by a burglar like this is to use a secondary lock on the home’s exterior door. A locksmith will not be able to pick the secondary lock, which would raise additional red flags that this home may not belong to the individual claiming to be a “resident” such as Mr. Valero. Another way to prevent the proliferation of unlicensed locksmiths, who may put you at risk of a scheme like this, is to always choose a local professional locksmith to complete services for you. By frequenting a professional more often, you can help to limit the amount of unprofessional “locksmiths” who are operating in the area.

A story such as this can be a good reminder and learning moment for a locksmith who may not be constantly checking a customer’s information. By taking just a few extra seconds to ensure that they are completing service for an authorized individual the locksmith can not only limit their own liability, but save headache and hassle for the individual being burglarized. As for potential burglars who think that this may be a good method for breaking into a home, more often than not, you will find yourself behind bars like Mr. Valero.

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Unconventional Locks Offer Security Solutions

Whether it is for your home, or your business, ensuring security is always a top priority. Recently we documented the security concern lock bumping presents and offered some solutions to this long standing security threat. For those who are concerned about the effect that lock bumping can have on their security, taking their residential or commercial security into the future may be a viable option. There has been very little deviation from a standard lock and key that people have become accustomed to; however, very recently lock manufacturers have begun to offer unconventional options which either include new technologies, or use existing technology in a way which is not normally anticipated.

XPUZMAG Circular Lock

A lock manufacturer in Taiwan has taken conventional lock technology, but used it in a unique way to provide home owners additional protection against commonly used lock picking methods. The XPUZMAG lock uses the same pins and tumbler technology that a standard lock would use, but deploys the pins in a much different way.

xpuzmag

The XPUZMAG lock which is manufactured in Taiwan.

As seen in the picture, rather than a small key slot, this lock uses an open circular face with multiple holes which reveal pins. When specific pins are pushed back using the specially made key, the lock can be turned and opened. There are also additional pins on the set which, when pushed in, prevent the lock from turning. Since each lock has unique holes, it is nearly impossible for a lock pick to guess which pins need to be held in. Lock bumping can not disable this type of lock. If a bump is attempted all of the pins are bumped, which would arm at least one of the “fake” pins preventing the lock from opening. There are some negative aspects to choosing a unique lock like this.

For example, getting a spare or replacement key must be done by going through the manufacturer. Additionally, if you are locked out, most locksmiths would have to drill the lock in order to get you back inside of your home. Perhaps American manufacturers can use the XPUZMAG as a basis for their own lock models, which could make getting spare or replacement keys much easier than contacting a foreign manufacturer.

Smart Locks

august smart lock

The August Smart Lock puts the security of your home right in the palm of your hand.

Smart locks are becoming increasingly popular among homes in the United States. Over 1 million homes currently use smart technology in their locks throughout North America. Not only is the cost of smart lock technology decreasing, but it also gives you protection against lock picking techniques which were relied upon to disarm conventional locks. Installed over your existing lock, the August Smart Lock is operated by an application on your smartphone. With no pins to bump, there is no way for a thief to bump or pick your lock. The same can be said for the Lockitron smart lock, which has many of the same features that the August lock has.

If you are looking to eliminate the threat of lock picking or lock bumping, these unconventional locks will be able to get the job done for you. The XPUZMAG may just be the beginning of innovative lock designs and we will continue to monitor American lock manufacturers to see if a counterpart appears. Smart locks have already arrived on the residential United States market with the August Smart Lock making its debut just last month. If you are unsure about the lock options which would be best for your home or business, call Phila-Locksmith and our professional will be happy to provide you with multiple options, or simply provide additional security information for you. As lock technology progresses it should eliminate many of the tactics that thieves use and result in much safer homes and businesses throughout the country.

Protecting Against Lock Bumping

Lock bumping, and bump keys, have been a known security threat for many years and continues to remain one. Earlier this year, Phila-Locksmith touched on the topic of how bump keys can affect security and now we are here to offer you sound methods to protect your locks from the threat of lock bumping. Bump keys continue to remain a threat to security in that they are a relatively cheap, easy and undetectable way to enter a locked door. A quick Google search reveals a number of bump key sellers who offer bump keys in groups for discounted pricing.

bump keys

With bump keys being so easily available for criminals it is best to have your security prepared.

Since bump keys are so easily accessible to thieves and Youtube training video just a click away, commercial and residential security always needs to be prepared for this threat. By just investing a few dollars in bump keys and minutes in a training, a thief can easily have access to homes and businesses which have low-end security. There are a number of options when it comes to defending your home or business from the threat of bumps keys, but it is first important to understand how bump keys function.

How Bump Keys Work

Bump keys make use of simple physics to be able to render armed locks disabled. A thief uses a key which has been cut down so that it is able to fit underneath of every pin in the locks tumbler. By inserting this key into the lock and then using another object to hit the end of the key, a thief is able to transfer energy through the key to “bump” the tumbler pins out of the locked position. While the pins on the lock are bumped, the thief is able to quickly turn the key giving them access to a previously locked area. View this animated bump key demonstration for a visual demonstration of how bump keys work.

Solutions for Bump Keys

Both deadbolt and knob locks can be effectively disabled by bump keys, so ensuring that all of your locks are protected is key. One of the easiest and cheapest solutions for bump keys is to use a secondary lock. Whether that secondary lock is a latch which is physically attached to the door, or acts as a secondary measure on a deadbolt lock, you are able to prevent anyone from accessing your home or business using a bump key. Unfortunately when using this method, you are unable to access your door from the outside as well, meaning this method is only likely to be useful if you are physically occupying the locked room.

Another solution to bump keys is to upgrade the current lock that you have at your home. Smart locks are becoming increasingly popular, while also becoming decreasingly expensive. Since these smart locks do not rely on the old fashioned pins and tumbler, they are completely unaffected by bump keys. There are also a range of traditional locks which are bump resistant or bump proof. By choosing a model of lock that has one of those ratings you are much less likely to become a victim of bump keys.

Until traditional lock and key systems are completely discarded it is not likely that bump keys will stop being a commercial and residential security threat. Relying on simple physics and a lack of investment in security, thieves are able disable armed locks in just a matter of seconds. Prevent yourself from becoming a victim of bump keys by taking preventative measures before you experience any type of security lapse.

Update: GM Ignition Switch Recall

In June, General Motors made a rash of recall announcements for many of its most popular models. We covered how this could affect the amount of push to start systems that are seen in the future, but it seems that the current recall has not gone as smoothly as GM would have hoped. While General Motors has been able to get a sufficient amount of parts to repair the millions of vehicles that were effected under the recall, still 45% of those vehicle recalled remain on the road today.

General Motors Entices Owners

In hopes of enticing more owners to get their recalled cars repaired, General Motors is now offering a $25 dollar gift card to owners who take their vehicles to the dealership for the necessary repairs. With 13 deaths being linked to this defective ignition switch, with over 2.3 million vehicles getting recalled, General Motors does not consider the defect imminently dangerous to driver, but still hope to entice those owners to get their vehicles fixed.

Repair Deadline Pushed Back

Initially General Motors set a deadline of December 1st, 2014, to have all ignition switch repairs completed. As mentioned above, the car manufacturer was able to get a sufficient amount of replacement car parts, but dealerships were claiming that they were in need of additional time to complete repairs. With this information General Motors has given car owners until January 1st, 2015, to claim their $25 dollar gift card and receive repairs. Owners of recalled models should be receiving information and offer this week, either through e-mail or physical letters.

Interim Ignition Switch Solution

If you are driving one of the recalled General Motors car models, there are actions that you can take to increase your safety until repairs are completed. GM has recommended that you remove any additional keys or chains from your ignition key when it is placed in the ignition. The root of the recall is that the ignition could slip out of the run position while the vehicle is on the road. By having additional weight and stress placed on the ignition a driver is increasing their safety risk. With additional weight removed from the ignition key there is a decreased chance that the key will slip from the run position.

car keys

Having too much weight on your ignition key can have an effect on your ignition no matter what vehicle you drive.

There are several takeaways for both car owners affected by this recall and by those owners who do not own one of the recalled General Motors models. Across all make and model vehicles it is recommended to leave as little additional weight on your key while in the ignition. Due to the circular motion of turning the ignition, additional weight can cause wear and tear which could lead to needing repairs down the road. For vehicle owners who were affected by the General Motors recall, there are just under two months to get your vehicle to the dealership and cash in on their gift card offer. Contact your local General Motors dealership for more information on the recall. To check if your vehicle was one of the over two million vehicle recalled visit the government’s NHTSA consumer alert.

Finding the Right 24 Hour Locksmith

It happens when you least expect it, and seems to occur at the worst possible times; locking yourself out of your home or vehicle. When you find yourself in this situation it can obviously be a big headache, with a fair amount of hassle thrown in for good measure. This hassle can easily be multiplied when you have locked yourself out during the night, or on a holiday. In order to make getting back into your home as easy and hassle-free as possible, it is crucial to choose a 24 hour locksmith company before you are in need of service. By vetting a company before you are in need of their services you will be able to find the best professional to take care of your needs. As a customer, you will also be able to find out the exact pricing that a specific 24 hour locksmith company charges, allowing you to choose a locksmith based on a realistic final cost amount.

Ask Your 24 Hour Locksmith the Right Questions

As mentioned above, finding the right locksmith company to use when you are locked out comes down to properly vetting the company before going to them for service. This means that you must ask any applicable questions that could affect the way that a 24 hour locksmith completes service for you. It may take calling to several companies to find a professional that you are comfortable with. However, this time is well spent and can help you to avoid a headache in the future.

Hours of Availability

The first task in the process of finding the best 24 hour locksmith for you, is first ensuring the company’s 24 hour availability. Does the company have technicians who are completing service in the middle of the night, or do they keep emergency locksmiths on call? If a locksmith is on-call it can increase the wait time that you would normally experience since the locksmith is not already in the field. Ensuring that the 24 hour locksmith is going to be able to assist you on holidays is also important. While the company may claim to offer service 24/7, they may not have locksmiths available during major holidays.

24 Hour Pricing

When saving the number of a locksmith into your phone for future use, it is also wise to get price quotes for your specific service. This can help customers to avoid becoming another victim of “bait and switch” tactics. When calling for locksmith pricing information it is crucial to ask for the price of service for both regular business hours and after-hours service. Some 24 hour locksmiths charge more during the night and weekends so, as a customer, it is important to know this beforehand.

24 hour locksmith

Have your locksmith of choice saved to your phone for quick access in emergency situations.

Assure Professional Quality Service

Another important question to ask when vetting a 24 hour locksmith company is to ask whether overnight and weekend service is completed by a licensed professional or an apprentice in training. Some unscrupulous locksmiths may offer 24 hour service, but overnight and weekend service is completed by their training apprentices and not their licensed professionals. Having an apprentice complete service is obviously a concern for customers who want to ensure that no damage is done to their lock during the emergency opening process.

Additional 24 Hour Locksmith Services

The most common reason for needing a 24 hour locksmith is for the completion of an emergency unlock, however there is much more that a locksmith company can offer you. A full service 24 hour locksmith company will not only be able to offer you emergency unlock service, but many other helpful services. If you have lost your car keys and are in need of a replacement, some mobile locksmiths will be able to complete this service 24/7. This can be beneficial since it can get your vehicle back out on the road hours, or days, earlier than you would have been able to otherwise. Additional services that a 24 hour locksmith can provide you include lock repair, lock replacement and re-keying. All three of these services can be useful in the case that your home or business is broken into during the night or on a weekend. By having your locks returned to functioning order as soon as possible, customers can avoid additional loss that can occur when security is down.

When it comes to choosing a 24 hour locksmith company, the main concern of customers should be to choose a company that they feel they are able to trust. With the right combination of availability, pricing and services, customers can trust that the locksmith company they are choosing will be there to provide emergency service exactly when they are in need of it.