Many keys, especially for commercial properties or post office boxes, are marked “do not duplicate” – but what does this mean? Can a locksmith still duplicate your key if needed? Here’s everything you need to know about “DND” keys.

Though many different types of keys are marked “Do Not Duplicate,” this engraving has no legal authority. Businesses like to keep track of keys to ensure safety, especially from previous tenants and employees, so they add this message to their keys. This message may deter a hardware store or other local store from making a copy of your key, but it is not illegal to have these keys copied.

The Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) says, “Orders for keys stamped ‘Do Not Duplicate’ or similar wording will be handled in the same manner as any unrestricted key. ALOA members should inform the consumer that the use of keys stamped ‘Do Not Duplicate’ or similar wording, is not effective security, and further that the use of such words is deceptive because it provides a false sense of security. Consumers who desire effective security should purchase a patented key control system rather than rely on a ‘Do Not Duplicate’ marking. This does not apply to keys protected by law.”

In fact, sometimes it is necessary. If you have broken a key marked “do not duplicate” (or even if you just really need a copy), a locksmith has the tools and authority to copy these keys for you. However, if your keys or locks are determined “restricted” then it is, in fact, illegal to make a copy. Restricted keys are rarely marked “DND.”

However, just because a locksmith is allowed to duplicate a key, doesn’t mean they’re able to. Many unrestricted keys are fashioned with brand-specific cuts. This means most typical key duplicating machines will not be able to make the same cuts, ensuring security. If you need a copy of your key, but you’re not sure if it can be duplicated, give us call today.