Do You Know What Bump Keys Are?

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

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 keys are registered to me.  I can take the locks with me should I move.  Those locks, and a good security system, protect me and my family, especially when 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


close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
Professional Home Inspectors
Tags:
identity theft
home security
burglary
bump keys

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Ted - thanks!  You're the man!

Alan - I had not seen that but was certain something like that was out there somewhere. 

Patricia - there is nothing new under the sun...

Mary - I am with you!  In addition to S&W at our house, we have Mr. Ruger, Mr. Baretta, BIG Mr. Glock and a police-issue shot gun...

Christine - you are welcome!

Michael - what isn't on You Tube?!

Dec 17, 2008 08:48 AM #51
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Heather - that is a great start!

Margaret - missionary work is good in many contexts!

Bill - I saw Alan's video.  I am a good bumper and already knew that.  But to have it out there just complicates a growing problem...

Lauren, James and Andrew - most people have not heard of them!  When bumped correctly a door opens as if the key was cut for it.

Bill - the second time!  Bumping is a practiced effort.  It is a skill and can be developed.  As to spool pins, they work, but it is better just to get a good lock.  Not cheap!

Raquel - you are welcome!

Mike - Kwidset keys are one of the three most commonly used in the US.  They are easily bumped.  I know...

Dec 17, 2008 09:26 AM #52
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Sonja - mostly near the so-called "sanctuary" areas - Montgomery and PG counties in MD and Fairfax in VA.  Prince William had a bad problem until they cracked down on the illegals and crime went down an immediate 70%.  Hmmm....  I think Lifelock is $10/month.  I have had it for two or three years.

Lisa, Meredith and Larry - you are very welcome!  Follow up on the info!

Tim - sorry, I really am.  But information is power - go do something about it.  Motivation!

Charles - your locksmith knows all about them!  good for you if you are using Medeco locks!

Rusel - thanks!  I think it is rebloggable.  I didn't know about the extra points, but I don't really pay attention to the point thing.

Elaine - go Doxie!

 

 

 

Dec 17, 2008 09:36 AM #53
Rainmaker
449,858
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Jay~ Does a bump key work on deadbolts too?  I wouldn't think it could......Vickie

Dec 17, 2008 10:00 AM #54
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Yes Vickie - if bumped right they act like they were cut for the lock.

Dec 17, 2008 10:22 AM #55
Rainmaker
655,882
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Have heard of these and also heard that the problem is increasing. Thanks for pointing it out to people.

Dec 17, 2008 03:37 PM #56
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Bob and Carolin - we all need to learn!  I get so much out of posts on this site...

Dec 17, 2008 08:50 PM #57
Rainer
6,378
Dawn Bach Thurman
Eye to Eye Interiors, LLC - Chicago, IL
Redesign & Staging Services

Thanks for the post, Jay!  I hadn't heard of these, but they make perfect sense - to a thief.  Great tip on the Medeco locks too. 

Dec 17, 2008 10:52 PM #58
Rainmaker
472,275
Janice Roosevelt
Keller Williams Brandywine Valley - West Chester, PA
OICP ABR, ePRO,Ecobroker

I had not clue about any of this. Very valuable. Appreciate it.

Dec 17, 2008 10:56 PM #59
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Dawn - so very many things make perfect sense to a thief - like stealing.  The locks are invaluable.

Janice - I am glad to help.

Dec 17, 2008 11:09 PM #60
Rainmaker
225,588
Mark Watterson
Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Real Estate

I didn't have a clue they existed.  Thank you for your post.

Dec 18, 2008 12:42 AM #61
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Mark - just another service I offer...  de nada.

Dec 18, 2008 12:53 AM #62
Rainmaker
449,858
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Jay~ I am not liking the sounds of this at all.  Is it best to get a locksmith to fix all of your locks so they can't be bumped?  Is that the only option?  (well, an alarm would help too) 

Dec 18, 2008 02:44 AM #63
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Vickie - you can install what is called "spool pins" into every lock set.  They work.  For the money, it is simply better to install bump-proof locks, like Medeco locks.  There are various however.  Talk with your lock smith...  Alarms are easily defeated, especially if tied to the phone.

Dec 18, 2008 02:50 AM #64
Rainmaker
364,938
Mike Russell
Mike Russell & Associates - Overland Park, KS
Overland Park Kansas Real Estate

most people dont know that the lock sets you can buy at home depot have a matching pack in the same box. if you turn over the package there is a code on the back that you can match. Quickset usually only has 2 matching sets per case but defiant has 4 per case. Alot of matching lock sets out there.

Dec 18, 2008 03:41 AM #65
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Michael - that's true.  And they all bump just the same!

Dec 18, 2008 03:46 AM #66
Anonymous
Gloria

Just want to add my two cents worth in. I discovered someone was entering my house without my knowledge because the crooks probably smart butt teenagers in the neighborhood did something to let me know they were coming in - I won't say. But anyway I did research on the internet and could only find very expensive solutions such as Primus and Medeco so I went by Home Depot and just happen to come across Quikset Smart Key. Now I say just happened to because they don't display on their packages prominently that they are bump proof so I did more research regarding this on the internet and found out that indeed they are bump proof and a good low cost alternative. Not only that but they can easily be rekeyed yourself without the use of a lock smith. Lock smiths don't like them because they take business away so they don't mention them hoping they will go away.

I have a friend who is highly mechanically skilled who can fix anything and he saids they are bump proof. He examined one and took it apart. I would highly recommend to everyone and anyone who is concerned about the safety of their family to immediately go to your local Home Depot and purchase one for every exterior door you have. You will feel safer at night. Of course nothing will 100% guarantee that you and your belongings will be safe but at least you have added one extra deterrent to their method and if they do break in to your house you will know about it. I have noticed that I have had things go missing like software and office supplies. In fact all my computer software has disappeared which I attributed to maybe the moving people stealing it but now I know better because office supplies have disappeared, new stuff I just bought which I thought was just misplaced. Some of my music collection on cds have also disappeared. Now I know better, a little bit late but at least I know and all I can do is help others avoid the same fate or worse by making sure your locks are bump proof. Do it now before it's too late!!  Quik Set Smart Key System, can't recommend it highly enough.

 

Jan 28, 2009 07:03 AM #67
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Gloria - that is a great alternative.  You should also make sure they did not get any password information off your computer.  What was taken sounds like kids, but you simply do not know!  Good luck with the installation - hope it works for you!  Thanks for visiting Gloria!

Jan 28, 2009 08:50 AM #68
Rainer
215,888
Diane Williams
Pell City, AL

Jay, I am glad I went back and read this, we need to do all we can to protect ourselves and our family.

May 07, 2010 12:14 AM #69
Rainmaker
1,850,847
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Diane - this is a popular blog on my website too!  It should be - most people know nothing about these kinds of keys!

May 07, 2010 02:14 PM #70
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Rainmaker
1,850,847

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
You may contact me anytime...
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Additional Information