By the author of The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications and The Cartoon Ham Exam Handbook: A Complete Ham Radio Technician License Study Guide
We’ve discussed what we can deduce about people from the way they use night vision, from what you hear/see on a scanner, and so on, but what about simply by looking at another person’s keys? It turns out you can really learn quite a lot.
Here are a few of the things that you can tell about a person simply by looking at their keyring. How do I know this? Past life as a locksmith. But you don’t have to be a locksmith to know these things. Any criminal worth his salt knows them, too.
So, here it goes.
If your key is rusty, it’s because it’s your hide-a-key. You somehow lost your “main” key to your house and have had to resort to your hidden key for a bit of time since. I now know that there’s a hidden key somewhere outside of your house, typically.
Under front door mats, nearby bricks/rocks, and hanging on a nail behind nearby wall art are some of the chief places I would look to find one of these.
Kwikset – KW1
If it’s an older-looking KW1 key (worn down teeth, lack of luster, etc.), I know that you likely have an older Kwikset lock on your front door. Outside of cheap Master padlocks, these are some of the easiest-to-pick locks on the planet. Most people who put these on their doors don’t know what they’re doing, and there’s a good chance I could simply get in with a credit card.
If it’s a shiny KW1, you may have a Kwikset SmartKey system set up. Nobody’s picking that, but it’s not exactly what I would call the best lock on the market.
(Just as a side note in regards to the pictures: All these are just stock photos. While I found plenty of people on Youtube showing off their keyrings, giving me all kinds of info, I wouldn’t want somebody flashing my security flaws to the world, and so I don’t want to do it to them. Stock photos, though? Particularly when you have zero clue who they would ever belong to? That should be A-OK.)
Schlage – SC1
I’ll have a more difficult time picking your lock compared to a KW1, but it’s still definitely doable. This is your house key.
Also, any locksmith worth his salt can look at your KW1 or SC1 and read the key cuts in seconds without a tool. If I memorize this, I can then go cut a key that matches your door. A bad guy could easily do the same and make a key for your house. This is why you should NEVER post a picture of ANY of your keys online. It is not difficult to copy a key by looking for somebody that is familiar with the cuts.
(Need to grab the keys and run? Check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to emergency evacuations to make sure that you have the information that you need already in your head.)
Technically, these are “bit” or “barrel” keys. You live in an old house, or your elderly mother does. I can probably guess the part of town that you live in. Nobody uses these for their exterior doors anymore, but you do have rooms inside of your house that you use these for.
You have a bug-out bag in your car. Trust me. I’ve asked people that I’ve found with one of these on their keyring. I was right. Nobody other than preppers carries these on their keyrings.
This is where people typically store their nitroglycerin. Odds are you have a heart condition. People can store other medication in here, too, of course, but most of the time, I’ve found that nitro is what’s inside.
Gun safe key
These are often pretty recognizable due to a large black head. There’s no mistaking these for a car key – maybe a motorcycle key if you’re new to the game. People have gun safes to put their guns in there. Usually, I can guess your political persuasions by seeing this.
Seeing a gun safe key on somebody’s key ring was a pretty good indicator to me of what subjects I could talk about with them. If I was a criminal, it would tell me that you have something of value that I’d like to steal.
I can virtually always tell the make and model of your vehicle from the car key. Shoot, most car keys even have the make listed on the head. Simple, no frill keys tell me that your car or truck is older. There are a number of things I can guess about you by seeing you have an older car.
Remotes to get into a car don’t tell me a ton. Certain cars require certain remotes, but you typically can’t get a definitive guess simply by looking at a car remote. Usually, the remote is literally right beside the car key, though, so it’s not a huge issue. Tape on the remote or one that’s beat to pieces tells me you’re scrapping for money.
A key fob is for push-to-start cars. You have a newer model vehicle. I can make a number of guesses about you from this information.
An alarm that tells you where your keys are
Odds are you’re a dude. If it’s a Harley, you’re 50+ years old. Young guys ride real bikes (hee hee). If it’s an Asian brand/crotch rocket, you’re young.
There are some key blanks out there that only fancy businesses get. If I see one of these on your keyring, all I know is that you work at a very well-off business, and odds are you’re a supervisor or in some other type of “I open the doors” kind of position.
If I see a number of these types of keys on your keyring, I know that you’re higher up in management wherever you work (or you’re the janitor). You can normally tell by how the person dresses, carries themselves, and the language they use, which of the two they are.
Post office box keys
You have a post office box (duh). If I see this while you’re at the local gym, I can probably guess which post office (the closest one nearby) is that you have rented a box at.
Safety deposit box keys
Who has safety deposit boxes? Rich people. People with stuff that’s valuable that they want to keep someplace safe. I can make a couple of estimates here that you have a nice job (or your spouse does), you have nice things in your house, and you probably live in a good neighborhood.
People tell soooo much information from these. They’re like bumper stickers on your car. I may be able to figure out what your name is, prior military service, see a picture of your family, learn about your occupation/hobbies, or where your kids go to school simply by looking at the keychains you have on your keyring.
Sometimes I can tell where you like to vacation as well, for instance, if you have a souvenir keychain there. Is it a beach location? Most people go to the beach in the summertime. Odds are you do too. I have a good chance of guessing that at some point between May to September, you won’t be at your home for about a week.
Is that an oxygen tank key? You’re a nurse.
Bottle opener? You probably spend a lot of time fishing.
If I see the color pink or purple or any cursive writing on any of your keychains, you’re a girl.
Kubaton or cat-punchy-thing? You’re a girl.
Pepper spray? You’re a girl.
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Putting it all together.
Why does this matter? Because it’s important for security reasons.
One key gives me a bit of information. But a whole key ring? I can get quite a bit of info about you, your habits, who you are, and all that from this. Just food for thought. Don’t post images of your keys online. See if you can do a bit of guessing with the keys of your friends at work this week. It’s a fun way to pass the time and see how much you’re guessing correctly. At the very least, it’s a fun way to meet new people. “Oh, do you like going to Miami?” “How did you know?” (Or maybe they’ll just think you’re a creepy stalker.)
What do you think about all this? Are there other things you can learn about people from their keys? Have you had any success doing this? What information do you think your keys are giving away?
Let us know what you’re thinking in the comment section.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, What School Should Have Taught You, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.