We’ve all seen the photo. A friend buys a new home and proudly posts a picture online with the key to their new place in hand. However, what they don’t realize is they have just invited an intruder to copy their key, and that’s a scary thought for any homeowner.

Plymouth-based locksmith Jacob Diodato unlocked some valuable information on why it’s crucial to never share your keys online.

Diodato has been a locksmith for about 10 years, keeping Bristol County and the surrounding areas safe. In those 10 years, he has dealt with several businesses and new homeowners who had someone gain access after seeing online posts.

How Burglars Can Copy Your Key From a Photo

“Keys can be cut by code. ... People can sight-read these simply by looking at them,” said Diodato.

“After comparing numbers on another key to the cuts on a posted key, it’s relatively easy.”

The code is a set of numbers stamped on the key, but even without the numbers, sight-reading is an easy and unfortunately common practice.

Cutting a Key by Code

Diodato explained how many shops and locksmiths offer "cutting" by code.

“Cutting by code creates a key to factory specifications rather than tracing one,” he said. “It can fix that issue where your keys stick, which is one of the legitimate uses, but it also allows someone to have a key cut with no key on hand. They can use the key code they’ve acquired (from the photos) to produce that key.”

Buying a home is exciting, and sharing the big news on social media is part of the excitement, but Diodato highly recommends keeping your new key in your pocket for the announcement online.

How to Safely Post a Picture of Your Key Online

Diodato shared a diagram of how burglars will track the key.

“The first photo is by far the worst because it literally spells out the key cuts and blank type,” he said. “The second photo covers the key cuts, but the actual cuts are visible and can be sight-read.

“The third photo protects the key cuts completely but still gives clues to your (type of) lock."

To keep your home (quite literally) under lock and key, avoid the key posts online and opt for a safer announcement.

Scammers are everywhere, and thanks to Diodato’s tips, one less burglar will succeed.

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