Have Bump Keys Arrived In Your Area?

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723
https://activerain.com/droplet/5h7q

Have bump keys arrived in your area?

What are "Bump Keys?"  Have you heard of them?

Bump keys are an easy, Internet-available way for non-locksmiths to get into your home.  Or most any home. And they are proliferating.

Where are they coming from and how are they proliferating?  The photo to the right is of a set of bump keys.

Notice two things - they all seem to be cut with the same pattern.  They are.  And the silver key on the right is stamped "Mexico."  These keys are all "Made in Mexico."  These keys typically come from Central America and are used in untoward ways.  An American locksmith will have his own set, but will not cut a set for you.  They are a real problem in my area - metro Washington D.C.  They might be in use in your area too - right now!

The police say to watch out!

The keys on the right are patterned to fit various locks.  American door knobs, the ones on the front doors of most American houses, usually come in one of three patterns.  The keys in the photo fit a dozen.  The key, and another small tool, allows these locks to be "bumped" and opened.  There is NO evidence of a break in.  Detectives have used these for years!

How is it done?  Burglars and thieves are very good at watching neighborhoods.  They search for patterns of behavior and schedules.  It is easy to determine when someone is not home just by vigilant observation.  A van pulls into the driveway and backs up to the garage.  The van is clearly labeled, "________ Cleaning Service," or "________ Painting Company."  What neighbor watching out the window would question that?  They get out, go to the front door, and appear to go right in.  Obvious to the neighbor is that they have been given a key.

They have not!  A practiced bumper can get in with the first or second try, within seconds.  To anyone watching, it is a fluid and easy motion.  They are in.  What are they interested in?  Anything quick and easy, money or jewelry sitting around, but mostly your hard drive.  Within a couple of minutes your computer is out the garage door, wrapped in a drop cloth or whatever, and into the van.  There is someone there ready to forensically dissect your computer.  They want credit card information, bank accounts, you name it.  Once the credit card number, and password, or pin number, or 3-digit code on the back is obtained, they return the computer.  If they know you will be back soon they may take it altogether.  Mostly, it is returned to its place and they leave with no evidence they have been inside. The best bumps are those where you, or the police, have no idea someone has been inside.  Nothing has been stolen!

Within one hour your credit card information has been converted into a pirated card and is used on the street in Bangkok, Paris, Bogotá, Beverly Hills - wherever!  Or an ATM card, and your bank account is drained.  Or both.

YOUR IDENTITY IS COMPROMISED!  Good luck with that...

My Recommendation:  Call your local police department and ask if they suspect such keys are in use in your area.  Call a locksmith and ask his recommendations.  There are many.  On my house I have installed Medeco locks.  They cannot be bumped.  They are not cheap, but worth it.  The keys cannot be copied if lost.  The key pattern is registered to me, and to have a new key cut I need to identify myself with photo ID.  Of course I can take the locks with me should I move.  Those locks, and a good security system, protect me and my family, especially when we are away.

Look into it!  This problem is getting worse and fast.

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Sally K. & David L. Hanson 02/02/2019 06:20 AM
  2. Roy Kelley 04/06/2019 01:00 AM
  3. Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 02/04/2019 11:11 AM
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Rainmaker
1,835,879
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Kathy - yeah, but Lenn never used them!

Kat - unfortunately they have been around a long time.  And getting more prevalent.

Feb 04, 2019 05:24 AM #21
Rainmaker
746,768
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Excellent information, I called our local police department, they had heard of them, not in big use in our area, but in Philadelphia yes,and if they are being used there only a matter of time as they said before we see them being used here. Thanks, and I re-posted the article with a local twist.

Feb 04, 2019 11:16 AM #22
Rainmaker
1,835,879
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Nick.  Soon they will be everywhere.  They seem to be moving north from the south.  In my area, a long time, almost 20 years.

Feb 04, 2019 12:52 PM #23
Rainmaker
2,095,752
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

One more thing to terrify me. It's such a horrible feeling to have your home invaded like this. 

I usually hide my laptop when we are going to be away for more than the day, and I'm not taking it with me. My husband thinks I'm paranoid. I believe you can't be too careful.

Feb 04, 2019 01:03 PM #24
Rainmaker
1,835,879
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Sharon - may I say HA!?  We put our laptops in the gun safe.  It weighs 1600 pounds and impenetrable, so they won't be going anywhere.

Feb 04, 2019 01:12 PM #25
Ambassador
2,948,547
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Jay Markanich

 Oh WOW is my reaction. Had not heard of this kind of stealing but it makes sense...since nothing was stolen.  Not sure if this is a good thing to warn about or will it just give the bad guys more ideas. 

I have a new door and locks...will be checking it in seconds.

Thanks for teaching me something new.

Feb 04, 2019 08:08 PM #26
Ambassador
3,194,479
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Yes, we've seen these for a few years here in Charlotte - especially with the builders - one key fits all of their door locks, Jay. It's scary to me - I'd also be worried about insurance not paying for theft since there was technically no 'breaking and entering' reported.

Feb 04, 2019 10:12 PM #27
Rainmaker
1,835,879
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Margaret - make no mistake, if there is a valuable something available or easy to steal - money or jewelry - they will!  But quick in and out is the goal.

Debe - the builder locks and keys are different as when the buyer moves in and uses their own key the pins inside the lock change to only fit the new homeowner's key.  But still, most any lock can be bumped if one is not careful.

 

Feb 05, 2019 02:09 AM #28
Rainmaker
3,178,259
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Jay I missed this sadly  I have never heard of it and to boot, how easy is this to do...a bit scary... BTW thanks to a reblog from our friend Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543  I am here, Endre

Feb 05, 2019 11:05 PM #29
Rainmaker
1,835,879
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Endre - I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, you did not see this the second I posted it!  It is easy.  A little practice and most things become easier.  If on'e objective is to snake others, practice makes perfect.

Feb 06, 2019 02:14 AM #30
Rainmaker
800,331
Diana Zaccaro
Tropical Beachside brokered by eXp - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

I came over from Carol Williams Second Chance Saturday post. This is very timely information for me since I was planning to replace our locks with Schlage. I like the fact that the keys cannot be duplicated by anyone but you, another layer of security.

Feb 09, 2019 12:07 PM #31
Rainmaker
1,835,879
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I'm glad you did Diana, but seriously embarrassed for you that you did not see the original post!  He says with a wink.

Schlage does make a bump proof lock, but it is a key pad I think, which are demonstrated to be pickable.

Thanks for stopping by!

Feb 09, 2019 02:08 PM #32
Rainmaker
424,806
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

I have not seen them here, YET. What is your opinion of electronic locks with key pads? There are a lot of the on VBRO beach houses!

Feb 09, 2019 03:36 PM #33
Rainmaker
1,835,879
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

They have been picked by electronic experts, Tom, but generally they are very safe.  Most schmuck burglars are not electronic experts!

Feb 09, 2019 03:47 PM #34
Rainmaker
1,529,875
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Jay, they have been in use in our area for quite a while. It takes about 3 seconds to bump a lock. When they became previlent in this area, we changed out locks to double-deadbolts. They also seem to be much more difficult to bump. A typical lockset is a breeze.

Feb 09, 2019 04:04 PM #35
Rainmaker
1,835,879
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

They are Mike.  I have a set with many different lock patterns.  And one gets better at bumping with time!  You may read into that...

Feb 09, 2019 04:10 PM #36
Ambassador
3,919,379
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Jay

Thanks for the warning...I had heard the term "bumping" but wasn't really clear on what it was. Pretty scary. I'll have to check with the local police to see what they have to say!

Jeff

 

Feb 10, 2019 04:53 PM #37
Rainmaker
1,835,879
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

It would be interesting to hear what they have to say,  Jeff.  Yours is an area full of people from south of the border.

Feb 10, 2019 04:54 PM #38
Rainmaker
376,621
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

I just heard about these keys recently, Jay. I sure could have used one at age 16 when the doors were locked, I had no key, and I had to sneak back into the house. But that's about as nefarious as I get.

Feb 25, 2019 09:51 PM #39
Rainmaker
1,835,879
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Gwen - ha!  Once I had to sneak back in, but I snuck out only once.  The experience soured me on sneaking out.  I left the basement door open for myself.  But then I had to sneak past my mother's bedroom, and up the stairs, only to get dressed and come right back down to deliver papers.

Feb 26, 2019 12:23 AM #40
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Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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