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Key to Crime: Can one-click unlock your home to the uninvited?

In a special report Wednesday, the Newschannel 3 I-Team explores new technology that might make you think twice about where you leave your keys. (WWMT/Denise Schermerhorn)

Where are your keys right now and how often do you leave them out in the open? Chances are it happens all the time.

With a new technology that makes key copying easier than ever, you might want to think twice before leaving your keys out in the open.

Traditionally when you need a key made, you go see a master locksmith like Paul Bentley at Michigan Security & Lock.

“There has been a trust in the past and the trust was that if you're in possession of the key, you should be the owner of it but it's a different world now," Bentley said.

That different world is thanks to technology and new companies like Greg Marshall’s KeyMe. The app allows anyone to make a copy of a key with just a few clicks.

“This is an industry that is one of the most fraudulent out there that takes advantage of customers more so than other industries and we're trying to change that and make it safer, cheaper and easier for customers,” Marshall said.

But that convenience comes at a cost. While KeyMe cuts out a visit to the locksmith, what happens if someone with bad intentions got ahold of your keys? Could they break into your home?

“I think that it's very, very possible,” Bentley said. “It’s just simply take a piece of white paper, go four inches away from it, flip the key over, take another picture, send it off and a couple of days later, you have a key to the guy's house."

The I-Team wanted to test that theory with Newschannel 3 Sports Anchor Mike McCann. The I-Team found Mike’s keys out in the open while he was on assignment.

With a few clicks and permission from Mike’s wife Danielle, we were able to order a copy of Mike’s keys. Just days later, we received a set of keys in the mail. When the I-Team tried the keys, they worked and we walked right through Mike’s front door - much to his surprise.

“That's an interesting app. I really don't know what to say,” McCann said. “(It’s) easier for everybody else too, which is slightly terrifying if you just leave your keys somewhere, someone can just take a picture and have access to your house."

KeyMe’s founder says despite the criticism, his company is safer and secure than going to a locksmith.

“We’ve made millions and millions of keys and there's never been an incident besides the fabricated media stories,” Marshall said.

So, what can you do to keep you keys safe? For starters, don’t leave your keys on a public key hook. Bentley also recommends investing in a higher security key like a “restricted key.”

“A restricted key would be one that has a very specific grooving to it,” said Bentley. It's actually controlled by area so we have within a 100-mile radius, we have the control for this so no one else would get this key."

Lastly, take it from Mike.

He said, “I won't be leaving my keys on my desk anymore.”

Have a tip for the I-Team? Email us at iteam@wwmt.com and follow me on Twitter @WalterReports and on Facebook at Facebook.com/walterreports

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