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Entries in Locksmith Services Category

Locksmith Scams

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locksmith Scams, Locksmith Services

lock-snapping

Living in a large city like Baltimore, Bethesda, or Annapolis has it’s benefits – there’s tons of culture, and you can find almost any service that you need whenever you need it. That being said, finding an emergency locksmith at all hours of the night should be no problem at all – however, finding a trustworthy locksmith is a bit more tricky. Recently, scam locksmith companies have been swindling their customers out of their hard earned money, by overpricing their services in a method similar to highway robbery. Top Locksmiths is one of the few trustworthy and reputable locksmiths in Maryland that guarantee you legitimacy, professionalism, and a fair price. Since there’s tons of fake locksmiths out there today, it’s best to study the following tips so you can know how to spot them and protect yourself.

 

Always check the name and address

If you’ve performed a search for a locksmith company, and the one you’ve found doesn’t have a listed address, keep on looking. This is an initial red flag that signals the illegitimacy of their business. If they have an address online, search it with a maps application – we suggest using Google Street View to look at the physical address – if it looks like an abandoned building or an empty lot, it’s likely the locksmith is a scam operation.

 

Always get a Quote

A reputable locksmith will be able to provide you a quote over the phone once you explain to them your situation and what sort of service you require. A locksmith who has experience should be able to give you an over the phone estimate before they arrive – and if they can’t it’s likely that it’s a scam – and you shouldn’t continue talking to them. Of course, if they provide you a strangely high or low quote amount,c all a few other locksmiths to see what the average cost for that service is – so you know whether or not they are trying to scam you.

 

Always ask the name of the Technician

Make sure to ask the locksmith, when you’re speaking with them over the phone, what the name of the technician who will be deployed to your location is. This is a simple request which should be very easy to answer – and if they can’t give you the name of the technician, you should find another locksmith. If you decide to work with them – once the technician arrives, ask them for identification before they start any work, and make sure to identify some form of company logo on the vehicle that they arrive in.

 

Take a close look at their Website

A great way of finding out if a locksmith is legitimate or a scam is by simply looking at their company website. If it’s very basic, without any information, it’s likely a fake locksmith. Search for information like contact addresses and numbers, and inspect their service pages to make sure it looks somewhat professional before you give them a call.

 

If you’re still unsure if the company is legitimate, why not drop all the worries and give Top Locksmith a call! We give our customers the ultimate in professional expert service, with incredibly fast response times, and a level of efficiency only available due to our rampant expertise.

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Pet Safety

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locksmith Services

pet safety

Security doesn’t always apply to preventing burglaries; sometimes it applies to keeping pets securely in your property. Your pets are their most safe when they remain in your home – although many animals have wild instincts, the common cats and dogs are domesticated and cannot survive by themselves in the world. Of course, the pet security protocols will vary based on what pet you have, where your home is, what your schedule is, etc… – if you have more than one pet, you’ll need to have multiple levels of security. In this blog post, I’ll detail some of the ways that you can make your home safe for your animal companions as well as yourself.

 

Fences

Depending on what kind of pet you have, there may be more or less of an escape risk. Most animals can slip in between spaces in fences – so you need to make sure that your fences are high enough to prevent jumping, doesn’t have too large of a gap at the base, and can’t be digged out from under. Most fences require a bit of experimentation and trial and error.

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What to expect when calling a locksmith

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When you call a locksmith, you want to ensure that you’re getting the best service possible. In this blog entry I’ll detail exactly what to expect in regards to process when calling a locksmith for any sort of service.

 

The initial Request

You have a problem and you want to solve it. You call the locksmith and ask for help – the call will usually be taken by the Locksmith’s main office, which acts as a deployer and dispatch for the company. The central service division will ask you what your location is, what sort of service you need, and your contact information.

 

Dispatch of Service

The central office will contact a manager for your area, who will be given your information. They will then select a local technician and send them directly to your location.

 

Technician Update

The technician sent to your home or business will call the customer, letting them know their estimated time of arrival. This lets the customer know how fast the process of the repair should take. Any additional information regarding the requested service will be discussed.

 

Security Assessment

The technician will arrive and professionally introduce himself to the client. They will then inspect the lock, and provide an assessment of exactly what the necessary steps that should be taken are. They will inform the customer of the right course of action, and together they will set a price. The customer will be then presented with a receipt that they need to sign in order to agree to the service and the charge.

 

The Locksmithing Work

Here’s where the meat of the process takes place. The time it will take to complete this process will range on what the service and situation is – during this process the technician will make sure not to damage any aspect of the home, business, or vehicle (besides cases where destructive entry is requested – like in lockouts that require a lock change.) However, this sort of entry is only utilized as a last resort, when there’s another way of entering the home, business, or vehicle.

 

Completion of Payment

The job is completed, and the customer will assess the success of the service. Then the locksmith will collect payment for the job which can usually be paid in either cash or credit. THen the technician simply gathers their equipment and leaves, on their way to help the next individual in need of expert locksmith intervention.

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Suitcase / Luggage Security Tips

Posted on by TopLocksmith in Locksmith Services

Depositphotos_24104715_original

When you’re traveling, you can’t be too safe with your luggage. TSA employees have been known to rifle through and steal from luggage – not to mention shifty fellow passengers. Since paranoia isn’t a great way to start a vacation, it’s a much better idea to make sure to adopt a collection of security strategies in order to have peace of mind in knowing your luggage is secure.

Keep all your things together

Keep your important stuff together in a sealed Ziploc bag, or a dedicated pocket that you will never veer from. The benefits of having a single location for your valuables is helpful because it will allow you to make sure you have all your important belongings quickly, rather than having to rifle through them and possibly missing something.

 

Announce what you’re giving over temporarily to security

Before handing a wallet, or any bag over to a gate or security employee, make sure to announce “this is my bag, it contains my money, cards, etc..” – if they hear you mention you know exactly what’s in the bag, they will be much less willing to take the risk of possibly stealing from you.

 

Always carry a credit card and your ID

These are the essential items that can save you in the unfortunate (and unlikely- if you follow these tips!) event of a robbery or theft. Almost anything else is replaceable, but a credit card and ID will allow you to find shelter, housing, or additional flights to go back home. While we’re at it, keep your cell phone on your body at all times.

 

Keep your cash and wallet in your carry on bag

Keep your wallet as deeply inside your carry on bag as possible so that the only way any theif could find it would be to thoroughly and conspicuously search and remove items from your bag.

 

Wear all jewelry and/or expensive watches on your body

If you’re traveling with any jewelry or wearable heirlooms make sure to wear it on your body at all times. Don’t trust anyone including airport employees to behave according to the law if they find a small – but incredibly precious – ring or necklace. By keeping valuables on your body at all times, you’re ensuring their protection.

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Cold Weather Lock Tips

There’s no doubt about it – this is one of the coldest winters on record. Although we’ve gotten the odd pleasant day, I’m sure you’ve all noticed the nighttime lows – whether there’s frost on your windows or not. Did you know that dropping mercury poses a serious risk to your lock performance as well?

 

As your local Maryland lock experts, we at Top Locksmiths always work hard to provide our customers with the most accurate information regarding your home, business, or automobile lock. Here’s our brief science briefing to explain the effects of super cold temperatures to locks. Thermal expansion is the term that describes the movements of the molecules inside any object due to temperature change. If a metal object is heated, it will expand because it’s internal molecules are moving, expanding away from each other. The opposite is also true. When an object is exposed to super cold temperatures, the molecules will gather closer together and eventually stop moving, causing the object to contract or shrink.

 

Because of the expansion and contraction of molecules, your locks may have been treated rough by the weather lately., You may have noticed locks sticking or posing trouble when you’re trying to turn them. Locks can freeze overnight (or on particularly cold days) because of any condensation or internal moisture. When this moisture freezes onto the tumbler, it can make it impossible to use a key inside the lock. You don’t want to try to force the lock open, because that’s likely to cause even more damage. You can call your trustworthy local Maryland locksmiths, who will be there in a jiffy to assist you, or you can try these tips:

 

  1. Use WD-40 or a de-icer to melt any ice around the lock. Spray in WD40 as a lubricant. Always be sure to have these items handy.
  2. Try using a lighter to heat up your key before putting it in the lock – don’t hold the flame directly onto it, but rather slightly below it. This might require a few attempts to work, but if it does it will melt any ice that’s sealed onto the lock tumblers.
  3. Try dipping your key in Vaseline and turning it in the lock – this might need some repeat attempts, but can be an excellent lubrication method on short term notice.
  4. You can pre-treat your locks with antifreeze to prevent it from being frozen in advance.
  5. Don’t ever pour hot water on a lock because it’s only going to increase the internal moisture already present and cause even more extreme freezing problems when the temperature drops in the future.

We hope that these tips serve you well in taking care of your locks during these winter months.

 

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Safety Barricades

Due to the macabre increase in school based invasions and shootings, there has been a national demand for schools to increase their security and safety features. A strifeful debate has emerged between parents who demand barricade devices should be placed inside schools and administrators who protest this addition. Barricades offer a fantastic secondary line of defense for schools or other institutions in the case of active shooters, and have the potential to save many lives if they are used correctly.

 

Barricades are available in many kinds of sizes and shapes – from compact locks that bolt directly into the floor to wide bars that run along the center of the door. These locks are made custom to be used in the event of crisis in order to protectively seal doors. For example, a barricade could bar a hinge from being able to expand, sealing the door shut, while another can insert heavy bolts into the ground, providing another layer of solid protection. Another design barricades across the entire doors center and bolts into the wall.

 

Some officials protest the wide installation of barricades in classrooms because they are afraid that they will be misused- with the argument that if used incorrectly, barricades could cause more negative than good impacts. The primary worry is that in the event of a fire or natural disaster, barricades could potentially trap people inside the building, preventing their ability to safely escape. Another possibility is the chance of an active shooter barricading themselves inside a locked classroom and causing more harm than they would be able to otherwise if the students weren’t barricaded inside.

 

Although these official concerns have valid logic, there’s no use in trying to imply that they trump the security benefits barricades add to students and workers inside schools – not to mention the psychological impact of barricades putting forward a sense of ease and security to both children and teachers who know that, in case there is a problem, they can simply stay in the classroom and be protected. What do you think?

 

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Guide to Home Security Hardware

Everyone wants a life free from the risk of burglary or home invasion. At this point in 2016, years of labor have been spent perfecting the various types of security hardware that can protect your home. No amount of well-wishing or camouflaging can replace the essentials of home security, and there’s a wide range of devices that can give you the security you need – from cameras and alarms to keypad locks and biometric scanners. In this blog entry I’ll provide some detail to the various types of security hardware and illustrate some of their benefits and drawbacks.

 

Keypad Locks

Safeguarding your home has never been easier – with the wide range of technological advancements made in recent years, your family and business can enjoy heightened security, and you can rest soundly. A fantastic tool to ensure the security of your home is a keypad lock. This will prevent any possibility of the lock getting bumped or picked, since these common break-in methods don’t work on these kinds of these keyless locks.

Pros of Keypads

The chief advantage of these locks is that they are 100% bump proof. By using a keypad lock, you can drop the need of having to carry keys everywhere with you, kindly replaced by advanced technology. Simply come up with your own numerical code and you can enter your home easily after entering in the code that you choose. This high end technology is a top choice for major businesses and institutions to protect their own assets.

Cons of Keypads

The biggest disadvantage of using a keypad is that the code can easily be given to other people – this is a risk with children or employees who have access to the code. Another possibility is that burglars can videotape or watch the code from your hand gestures – this can be avoided by employing two keyless locks – like a biometric scanner pared with a keypad.

 

Home Security Control Panels

There’s many makes and designs for home security control panels that you can choose – they operate as the central communicator and control port for home security systems. This hardware is used in homes as well as businesses, banks, or government institutions. By uniformly controlling alarms, lights, locks and all other systems, control panels ensure that all systems are working in check to avoid any anomalies that might pop up. Many control panels feature sirens and alarms to maintain the private security of any users.

 

Alarm Sirens

This system sounds a loud alarm in the event of any detected forced entry within the vicinity of the system – many alarm sirens are wired through control panels, but you can also instal seperate ones that run on their own.

 

Heat Sensors

Most people have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. For those who want to be extra careful to avoid any sort of fire, a heat-detector would be a great pairing with an existing smoke detector. It can quickly and accurately pick up great fluctuations in heat within your home or business (stoves won’t set it off) and automatically sends notification to local firefighters for immediate response. Freeze sensors help monitor the coldness level in a space – in case a window breaks during a snowstorm and you want to be notified so that you can avoid property damage.

 

Flood Detector

Floods can cause massive property damage. If your home or business is in a flood risk zone, it may pay to install flood detectors in specifically vulnerable areas of your space – This device will notify you if it detects great moisture fluctuations in that area, giving you advanced warning of a flood or leak so that you can minimize any possible property damages.

 

Outdoor Wireless Cameras

Home motoring shouldn’t be relegated to only the inside of the house. By monitoring any outdoor activities, surveillance cameras can catch, record – as well as discourage any attempted entry – any shifty behavior from trespassers – this can both work to help alert you in safe advance, as well as recording proof to verify damages with any insurance companies after a crime.

 

Indoor cameras

Many of these cameras are installed via wireless internet connection and allow you to hook into a live camera feed so that you can monitor the inside of your home using your cell phone. Even if you’re hundreds of miles away, you can have a real-time view into your home, allowing you to catch any potential burglars in the at. Since most home invasion crimes occur when inhabitants are on vacation, it’s wise to install indoor cameras to avoid any of these sort of problems.

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Brief History of Locksmiths

history of locksmith

Just as soon as humans assigned importance and value to material objects, they realized the need to keep these objects safe, secure, and protected. This cultural and monetary need allowed for the advent of the invention of locks and keys. The profession of locksmiths, master of the arts of designing, creating, and installing locks and keys, is one of the earliest forms of engineering of security devices and instruments or history.

Beginnings of Locksmiths

In Ancient Babylon and Egypt, around 4000 years ago, locksmiths created wooden tools that utilized the essential principles of pin tumblrs to prevent free movement of the large wooden bar that would hold doors shut. The pins could only be shifted with the use of a very large wooden key (which was made in the shape of a modern toothbrush) that was placed inside the lock and moved upwards, unlocking the door. One of these ancient locks was discovered in an excavation site of the Assyrian Empire, in Khorsabad City near the biblical city of Nineveh. This lock is estimated to have been created around the year 704 BC.

Medieval Metalwork

The origins of locksmithing can be linked to the profession of blacksmithing. Blacksmiths are engineers that work with metallurgy, forging devices out of steel and iron. During the Middle Ages, blacksmiths were tasked with military manufacturing- making tools of war (weaponry, defense items) for their monarch and leaders. As time passed, some blacksmiths with great skill regarding locks and keys decided to specialize in such – this is when locksmithing, as a specific profession, was born. Locksmiths were skilled metalworkers, blessed with the knowledge of shaping metal to their choosing, and the ability to create by hand a wide variety of original pieces to be included in keys, locks – or tools for filing keys and locks.

Industrial Perfection

As the industrial revolution occurred, locksmiths became a absolutely priceless and necessary fixture in society.  After advanced metallurgy was mastered, locks and keys were created to be much more durable and lasting. Many locksmiths were able to customize, and improve on, designs that hadn’t been changed for countless generations, ages. As industrial mass production became mastered, the field of locksmithing began to change. Cheaply manufactured industrial locks took away the business from skilled individual artisans – splitting the profession into three fields – those who repair industrial locks (twiddling with individual pieces or repairing aspects of factory manufactured locks, those who copy keys for civilians who need more of them for personal use, and those who are contracted out for large security companies who design and manufacture massive security vaults for banks, museums, and governments.

Today, most locksmiths work out of a shop – a central studio where they complete all or most of their work. They utilize hardware meant to interact with doors – hinges, frame repairs, closers, etc) as well as making customized security layers for institutions (creating many layers of locks that protect against forced entry,) or work in specialty fields – such as forensic locksmithing (those who determine methods of entry for police investigations,) or automobile lock experts, who specialize in designing and repairing car locks. It’s pretty amazing to consider how much variety, skill, and expertise exists in locksmithing today – it’s been a long ride since Ancient Assyria, but locksmiths remain a necessary staple of any functioning society.

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The Top Places to Hide Spare House Keys (and where you should NEVER hide them)

hide keys

Keeping a spare house key can be very convenient in case you misplace your main set of keys. Convenience is good – we can all agree on that. However, you might want to ask yourself if the hiding place where you’re placing your spare key is too convenient, meaning that it can be easily found by any criminal or burglar. Please, don’t sacrifice the safety of your home or business for convenience. The last thing that you want is for a criminal to find the spare and easily enter your home whenever they choose. Here’s the best (and worst) places to secure your spare keys.

Best Places to Leave Spare Keys

With a trusted Neighbor or Friend

Your neighbors are fantastic allies to help prevent burglaries. Give your neighbor your spare key. Make sure there’s no information printed on the key that’s linked to your home address. This is one of the most secure spots that you can hide your keys at, as it’s safe inside someone else’s house. However it’s not the most convenient, as you’re going to need to be able to get in contact with the neighbor if you need the key at the spur of the moment.

In a magnetized lock box placed under your car.

The wide majority of burglaries occur during the day, from 10am to 3pm – usually when people are at work. Try hiding your spare key in a magnetized lockable box that’s stuck to the underside of your car. That way, when you’re away from home with your car, so is the spare key.

Under a dog house.

Burglars loathe dogs. The natural protective instincts (and fantastic sense of detective level smell) in dogs have made them an ideal guarding companion for generations of humans. No sane burglar is going to want to go near any sort of dog house. By utilizing the deterrent nature of this fact, you can hide your spare key under the dog house to evade the possibility of it being picked up by a criminal.

Fake Sprinkler

The competent alternative to a fake rock, a fake sprinkler system looks exactly like a real one, and can match any real one already at your house to look like a part of a functioning system. It’s rare that any burglar would assume to look here.

 

Worst places to leave Spare Keys

Wallet

This is such an awful spot to keep your spare keys. If your wallet is lost or stolen, anyone who finds it can likely find your home address (often on driving licences) as well as a key to enter your house as smoothly as you ever do when you come home from work. Simply put: Don’t. Do. It.

Under your Welcome Mat

This is the very very very very stupid mistake that people do, over and over again. Don’t hide your key here. Ever. We promise, this is the first spot that everyone looks.

Under a fake rock.

OK. We don’t understand why these fake rocks are continued to be made. They almost never look real, and stand out like a sore thumb in an otherwise bare lawn or facade. Burglars love these fake rocks.

Under a flower pot right by your door

Again, the convenience that this spot poses to you, can be equally enjoyed by a burglar, who will be extremely happy about how easy and quickly they can enter your home.

 

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Strategies to Prevent Getting Locked Out

lock out

There’s no way around the fact that being locked out of anywhere – your home, your office, your car – simply stinks. It’s a major waste of time, and a major stress boost. However, if you prepare in the proper fashion you’re never going to get locked out again. Here’s a list of strategies key-holders can implement to prevent getting locked out; simply choose which of them works for you, and apply it to your life, to avoid ever having to deal with a lockout.

Check your Purse, Pat your Pockets

Before you leave your house (or anywhere for that matter) check to see if you have all your essential items with you. You want to make sure that you have your phone, wallet, and keys. Depending on how you dress this might be a matter of checking all your pockets, or looking inside a purse, messenger bag, or backpack. This technique prevents forgetting keys, or any items you may need.

Keep a Spare Key

NOT UNDER A FAKE ROCK. We recommend leaving an extra key at a friend or neighbor’s house that you can use in emergencies. If you choose to hide the key on your property, hide it in a very inconvenient place. Seek an area that’s secure or not easily seen. If you decide to hide your key under a plant, or even the aforementioned fake rock, make sure that there are other plants or rocks on your property, so your hiding spot won’t be as conspicuous.

Keep your Keys in the same spot

Don’t simply leave your keys on any random surface. Try assigning a specific pocket to keep keys in so that you can always know where they are. Don’t ever just leave them out in the open, and if you lend them to a friend, make sure to get them back.

Call a Locksmith

If you find yourself truly locked out, you should contact a locksmith. This is an option to be exercised instead of trying to manually break into your door or window – irrational actions that will compromise the future security of your home – not to mention what’s in your wallet. Locksmiths provide a more affordable and rational way to restore your entry back to your property.

Replace Shoddy Locks

If your lock isn’t working properly, you can get locked out even if you remember your keys. Even if a shoddy lock opens and shuts, the continued use of it will damage keys over time to the point of rendering them unusable. If a key breaks inside a lock, even having a  spare won’t help. Avoid being stranded on your porch by making sure your locks work correctly.

Don’t Duplicate ‘Do Not Duplicate’ Keys

The more that you copy keys that aren’t meant to be copied, the farther the copied keys will be from the quality of the original. If you keep copying ‘Do Not Duplicate’ keys, you might realize one day that the new key doesn’t work at all. That’s the reason all spare keys should be copied from the original, not copies.

 

At least one of these strategies should help you ensure that you’re not standing outside helplessly locked out. It’s important to consider any potential security flaws of your home and tailor a specific strategy directly to your needs. Make sure to take the necessary precautions to both keep your home safe, and to ensure that you can access it whenever you want.

 

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