Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Auto Theft Scam Makes Dealers Do a Double Take

Before you let a prospect test drive a car, you probably photocopy their driver's license just in case they decide to take a one-way trip with your inventory. But what about when they simply want to take a closer look at a vehicle on the lot?
salesman giving customer car keys

There's a new tactic thieves are using to steal cars that will make you do a double take and think twice before handing over keys. 

It's being referred to as the key-swap scam. Scammers pose as potential buyers who simply want to examine the interior of a particular vehicle. During their inspection, they pocket the real keys and return a look-alike pair to the salesperson. They then use the stolen keys to access the vehicle a short time later.

To protect your dealership from falling victim to this sting, make sure you secure keys to easily identifiable key tags, so you'll immediately know the difference between genuine and counterfeit keys.

Monday, November 4, 2013

No Sign of Forced Entry: Who Has Access to Your Tenants' Keys?

There are few things worse for your property's reputation than a string of break-ins. Except, of course, when, instead of using a crowbar, the assailant uses keys to enter your tenants' apartments.

In February of 2013, residents living in an upscale apartment complex in Boston reported at least five break-ins with no sign of forced entry. It was immediately obvious to police that the thief had access to a set of the apartment's keys.

One victim paints a terrifyingly realistic scenario: "What if I had been home when someone came in," she said. "It is a very unsettling situation, and I don't think the management company has done much to address it."

She told reporters that she planned to move out, despite the fact that the property manager had just completed the expensive and time-consuming process of re-keying all the locks.

This compelling news story teaches us three things: 

Tenants Don't Quickly Forgive and Forget

Once you compromise your tenants' safety, it's difficult to gain back their trust. Not only will they not easily forgive the lapse in security, they won't stay quiet about it. As the popular saying goes, bad news travels faster than good. Would you move into a property if you heard that it had a history of poor key management?

Property Managers Must Do Their Due Diligence 

You can be held liable for not providing adequate key control, because leaving tenants' keys unsecured or failing to track who has access to keys is grounds for a negligent security lawsuit. You wouldn't expect your tenants to move into an apartment that didn't have locks installed on the doors. In the same way, you must do your due diligence to tightly secure the keys that unlock your tenants' homes.

Installing a Key Management System Is Better Than the Alternative 

Between the damaged reputation and cost of re-keying every apartment, losing control of keys is an expensive slip-up. It's much more prudent for you to purchase a system that secures keys, keeps a verifiable record of key transactions in real time and controls users' access to keys.

To find out what other key management mistakes property owners make that leave them open to liability, check out our white paper.

Grand Master Key Stolen From School Campus

Gold keys on top of hundred dollar bills
Properly securing campus keys is vital, because it can prevent the theft of confidential documents and access to restricted areas.

The University of Central Arkansas knows this all too well, as last year it had several items stolen, ranging from an assistant director's medicine to countless exam answers. Upon further investigation, it was found that a grand master key belonging to UCA's chief of staff had been used to retrieve the keys required to gain entry into the offices where the items were taken.

The employee reported the stolen key in accordance with the university's key control policy, but when asked about the key, he abruptly resigned.

What's more, a series of permissions are needed to gain access to UCA's keys, and replacement costs increase in proportion with the level of authority required to gain access to each key. Lower-level keys cost $45 to replace, and to rekey a general building master key, the school must come up with $5,000. However, these amounts are drops in a bucket compared to the grand master key, which is one of the university's most expensive assets, with a $100,000 replacement cost.

To avoid replacement costs such as these and strengthen security, you must have a verifiable method in place to uphold employee accountability. Electronic key systems can help you do this by requiring staff members to enter a passcode, scan a fingerprint or swipe a proximity card to access keys, giving you a full-proof record of inventory activity.