One of the most asked questions by homeowners is how to tell if a key has been copied. If you’ve just relocated to a new home or a new apartment, then you’d surely want to know if a key has been copied or not. This is a precautionary measure that most new tenants and homeowners prefer to undergo.

Depending on the kind of house you moved into, or how classy your new room apartment is, there is a possibility that your key has been copied in the past. Maybe not by the owners of the building, but by the former tenants.

Some apartments offer a brand new set of locks and keys to new tenants after they move in. That is to avoid a case whereby someone else might have a copy of your key. And if you have just moved to a new home, chances are, your landlord or caretaker of that property may offer you a new set of locks and keys.

If you moved into a place where you are given new locks and keys, that will save you the worry of someone out there having a copy of your key. And if that’s not the case, or maybe your landlord isn’t living in the same apartment as you, or he doesn’t give out new keys to new tenants, then you can buy new locks and new keys for your apartment.

However, buying a new lock doesn’t guarantee that someone won’t break into your house or pick your lock. Regardless of the lock you have or were given, a good lock-picker can get into your home. While getting a new lock isn’t the perfect solution, there are enhanced and modern locks that are almost impossible to pick, but they come at an expensive rate.

How to tell if a key has been copied

It can be tough and close to impossible to tell if a key has been copied. Sometimes even when you buy a new lock, chances are there is a nearby neighbor who also has a similar lock and keys. So you never know.

Locksmith copying a key - Can You Tell If A Key Has Been Copied

Some people say it’s impossible to know if a key has been copied. There are some locksmiths have been locksmithing for their whole lives. And can detect a copied key as soon as they set their eyes on one. It’s a common human thing. If you’ve been doing something long enough, soon a time will come when you’ll be able to do it without even looking.

The work of a locksmith isn’t just to unlock, replace, or change keys and locks. Sometimes they can also identity copied keys by just looking at them. The main reason why it’s hard to tell if a key has been replicated is that, when a key has been copied, it leaves no mark, or trace of being copied.

It’s like wearing an old yellow plain T-shirt shirt every day. And one day you go to a store, and you got yourself new sets of plain yellow shirts. When you put on your new plain color T-shirts, of course, nobody’s going to notice that they’re new. Everybody’s just going to assume you’re putting on the same old ones. But if a T-shirt seller spots you, there is a way they can tell that you’re wearing brand new clothes.

So it’s the same with locksmiths. They have their way of knowing if a key has been copied. But if you’re not a locksmith, then it might be impossible to tell if a key has been copied. Conversely, some locksmiths are unable to know if a key has been copied. Not all locksmiths can tell.


Today, most keys can be copied. Whether your lock is enhanced or not. And the downside is that people don’t even need to steal your key to make a copy of it. If someone somewhere wants to have a copy of your key, sometimes all they need is something like a piece of gum. Some use a thick muddy sand, and then they press it down.

Related: Is It Cheaper To Rekey Or Replace Locks

Doing that won’t leave any noticeable signs on your keys or damage it. It is one of the methods which burglars use to get into people’s houses in most cases. However, there are specific keys that cannot be easily copied. Such are garage keys or keys to the basement.

The fact that they are usually big, and sometimes has less shape, can make a burglar think twice before taking the to make copies.