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Can You Duplicate a Key That Says Do Not Duplicate?

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

can you duplicate a key that says do not duplicate

There are certain keys that you do not want to be duplicated, such as the keys to the doors of your businesses or your home. This ensures that such keys will not get duplicated and go to the wrong hands, where unauthorized people can access your family or valuables.

If you are wondering, “can you duplicate a key that says do not duplicate?” the answer is yes. Even though a key says “Do Not Duplicate,” you can still have it duplicated if you need copies.

However, there are certain things that you need to know before you hand in your “Do Not Duplicate” key to your locksmith and have it duplicated.

What Does “do Not Duplicate” Mean?


If you happen to stumble upon a key at Walmart that says “Do Not Duplicate,” that stamp on that key means that the key should not be duplicated for security purposes.

1. The importance of this key

This stamp is usually seen in keys that landlords use as apartment keys, entrepreneurs who want to secure their businesses, and homeowners to minimize security threats.

Since the do-not-duplicate stamp only serves as a warning, it will inform the person who sees or gets hold of your key that it should not be duplicated for security purposes.

2. How are do-not-duplicate keys made?

Do-not-duplicate keys are made just like any other keys. After the cuts are made, they are engraved with a “Do Not Duplicate” sign on the head of the key.

Can You Duplicate a Key?

To duplicate a do-not-duplicate key, you can go to any other locksmith and have it duplicated, just like any other key.

If you want to know how to copy a do-not-duplicate key by the company you bought the keys from, read first the duplication policy of the company since some companies would give you duplicates for your keys free of charge.

Some locksmiths and lock manufacturing companies would most likely ask you the following questions during duplication:


  1. What is the person’s name that has given you permission to duplicate this key?
  2. What is the key owners’ contact information?
  3. What key is allowed to have a spare of?
  4. How many duplicates do you want?

You can also have your keys duplicated in a machine where you just insert your key inside a keyway, swipe your card, and a duplicate key will be given by the vending machine.

So, what happens if I duplicate a do-not-duplicate key?

Since no laws punish those who violate this rule, you can always get a spare for that key how many times you want. Although it is not your key, it is best not to duplicate it so you won’t endanger someone’s security.

The Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) treats keys stamped with “Do Not Duplicate” as unrestricted keys. This means they can duplicate the key without any illegal bearing, unlike restricted keys or keys that cannot be duplicated.

Alternatives to Duplicating a “do Not Duplicate” Key

If you do not want to resort to duplicating a do-not-duplicate key, you can always follow these tips:


  1. Always have a spare key.
  2. Attach a tracking device to your key so you won’t lose it
  3. Have a place where you can place your keys.
  4. Carry them if you have secure pockets.

How to Get a Replacement for a Do-not-duplicate Key


If you lost your original do-not-duplicate key, you could get one through the manufacturing company or a reputable locksmith.

If you have lock and key insurance, the company where you bought your key will give you replacement keys if you lose your key or it was stolen. A reputable locksmith will also get you a locksmith key copy without the original one if you have your lock.

Ensuring Key Security

If you want to have keys that have a legal bearing when it is duplicated, go for restricted keys. These types of keys are only available in certain lock manufacturers where they have the right and patent that protects the key from being duplicated.

If you want to avail one, you can go to a reputable locksmith company and ask if they have restricted keys. They can give you different options for different lock manufacturers that will suit your security needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Prevent Unauthorized Key Duplication?

Other than getting keys with a “Do Not Duplicate” stamp, there are two other ways to prevent unauthorized duplication.

The first one is to go for keys that are registered in restricted keyway systems. Companies with this system ensure that the type of keys they sell can only be duplicated by themselves, eliminating the possibility of having other locksmiths copy a do-not-duplicate key.

The second one is to install keyless entry locks. This will ensure that no one can duplicate a key and enter your property since there is no key to duplicate in the first place.

What Should I Do If I Lose a Do Not Duplicate Key?

If you do lose your uncopyable keys, you have to go to the company where you bought your lock and key.

Like any other keys, you can also go to a reputable locksmith to ask for another one but it would cost you $1 – $4 for a basic one and $50 – $1,000 for chipped keys.

Can You Tell If a Key Has Been Copied?

It’s near impossible to tell if a key has been copied by yourself. However, some locksmiths in reputable companies, such as Minute Key, can identify if a key has been copied just by looking at some of the lines that have been made to the key as it was copied.


It’s important to have spare keys when buying a new lock that protects your home and business. You can never know when you will lose your original key and need a spare key, whether it is for an emergency or not.

Knowing the answer to the question “can you duplicate a key that says do not duplicate?” gives you a sense of security. So the next time you lose your original key, you are good to go with a spare one.

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