Need a locksmith’s help in opening and changing your letterbox lock? You’ve come to the right place!
Understanding the needs of our customers, we have two choices for our customers to choose from: the Target brand and the REAL brand locks. But before we begin:
Who should I approach to change my HDB letterbox lock?
Contrary to popular belief, letterbox lock replacement is done by locksmiths, not the HDB or the town councils.
For condos and commercial buildings, we strongly recommend checking with the respective managements in charge, as they may have aesthetic regulations in place. This means that you may need to change it back to the same letterbox lock type as your current one.
IC verification procedure
Before opening and changing the letterbox lock, we will first verify that the unit belongs to the customer. This is done for security reasons. Do note that we can only proceed after the verification is complete. During this process, we will not take down your IC details, or retain your IC.
The Target brand letterbox lock is a good, affordable choice. The level of security provided is adequate for everyday usage, but can be picked open by locksmiths. This can be a problem, as it may not be possible to know that someone has accessed your letterbox without your permission. If security is a major concern, this may not be the right letterbox lock replacement for you. Three new keys comes with this lock.
The REAL brand letterbox lock provides a higher level of security. This is more durable, and is much more secure than other letterbox locks. It possesses a thicker back plate that can resist forced entry. As we can’t pick this open, we need to damage it if you lose the keys. Signs of unauthorized access can be easily seen. If you’re still receiving important documents and parcels via your mailbox, we advise getting this lock..
This comes in two designs: normal and flushed. Apart from the aesthetic difference, both are similar in security and function. Three new keys come with this REAL brand lock.
Owing to the design of the key, they are harder and quite expensive to duplicate.
If you’re finding the REAL brand keys difficult to duplicate or use, we have the MESA brand letterbox lock for your consideration! The level of security provided is also great for everyday usage, although it can still be picked open by locksmiths. This may be a problem, if you’re expecting important mail or packages through the letterbox.
The keys are made entirely of metal, and the lock itself is made of brass This may be desirable for customers who desire a better quality for their lock, but without the hassle of the REAL brand keys. Why not give this a try?
How to identify a letterbox break-in
This is an example of how a damaged letterbox, or an attempt at a letterbox break-in will look like.
Break-ins can occur via several ways. The first involves asking a locksmith to open the lock via non-destructive methods (lock picking), or to physically force the letterbox open.
Another creative method is by taping the end of a long object with double sided tape and retrieving letters via the letterbox flap.
We advise locking the flap to prevent prying eyes, and investing in a good lock such as the REAL brand lock to prevent such incidents from occurring. If you’ve noticed missing packages or letters occurring repeatedly, we would advise making a police report.
When and why do I need to change my letterbox lock?
Good question there! Here are the five most common reasons cited by our customers:
1) Moving into a new unit
Our customer wanted to replace the lock, as the previous owners had given them duplicate keys. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a full set as well. Additionally, the new owner revealed that the previous owner was still accessing the letterbox, because letters were constantly vanishing.. We advised the owner to change the lock, since the unit already belonged to him.
2) Loss and misplacement of keys
The customer had misplaced his keys, opting for opening and changing the letterbox lock. This would provide him with 2 new keys. Additionally, he could also duplicate the amount that was required.
3) Harassment issues
Our customer’s letterbox lock had been superglued. After conversing with him, we found out that this wasn’t the first time that his lock had been tampered with. This wasn’t casual mischief, but insidious harassment. We immediately advised him to take photos of the superglued lock, and to make a police report instead with these pictures as evidence, so that he could report the harassment effectively.
Thinking that you may be safe if your lock doesn’t come with a keyhole? Not true!
We were surprised to discover that our customer’s number lock had been superglued. They had contacted the police before engaging us. When we arrived, there were telltale signs of dried glue dripping down the lock, and on the lock itself. The gaps in between the scrollable numbers had also been glued, so the numbers would not move.
We broke the lock and returned it, advising that the old lock be kept as evidence. We also suggested making another report if the mischief returned.
4) Broken key inside the letterbox lock
The key had broken inside the lock. Our customer still had a spare, so we suggested removing the key and preserving the original HDB lock. After removing the key, we realized that it had already been slightly bent. The keyhole inside was also rather dry, as we experienced stiffness while testing with the spare key.
After spraying some WD40 into the keyhole, the customer remarked that it was much easier to turn the key.
5) Unauthorized access to letterbox, with items found missing
Recently, there have been cases of letterbox break-ins, from letterbox tampering to the stealing of grocery vouchers. Prior to these incidents, we had received feedback from customers that their letterboxes had been accessed without their permission. Their parcels had been disappearing over a period of time. This led us to realize that there were already break-ins happening.
Additionally, we also receive suspicious requests to open the letterbox lock, specifically without damaging the lock because they want to lock it again after it’s opened. We find these cases fishy, and request that they produce the IC for verification purposes. In return, excuses are given (the IC was not updated yet to the latest address). In return, we decline these jobs.
Check out the video at the bottom of this article, for two simple tips on how to secure your letterbox!
When do you not need to change your letterbox lock?
1) Letterbox key breaking off and getting stuck inside the lock
We also receive cases in which the key breaks off and gets lodged inside the lock. If this happens and you still have a spare key, the lock can still be rescued in some instances by removing the broken key.
2) Not being able to insert the key fully
Can you insert your key, but can’t turn it fully? Your lock may need a little realignment, or clean-up. We can show you how to get your stuck letterbox lock open.
3) When the metal plate of the letterbox lock has been reversed
We have started receiving cases of supposedly ‘faulty’ letterbox locks from an increasing number of customers. Usually, letterboxes are discovered being left open when customers collect their mail. When they try to lock it, they can’t do so.
What piqued our interest was how they had been using the lock without any issues all this time, after ruling out door misalignment and incorrect keys. What on earth could have caused their locks to suddenly malfunction overnight?
After inspection, we realized that the metal plate of the lock had been reversed. This results in the door being unable to be secured, as the metal plate cannot make contact with the frame to keep it locked. For the letterbox to be suddenly left open meant that it was accessed without their permission, through lockpicking.
With the previous incidences of questionable locksmithing ethics, we are currently suspecting that this is a possible tactic, which theoretically appears to be more low-key than using superglue.
If you’ve encountered this, we urge you to file a police report before touching your lock, with additional photos of the front and back of the lock as photographic evidence.
I still need to change my lock, how do I contact you guys?
If all else fails and you need to change your letterbox lock, you can contact Vincent Locksmith directly at 8812 7499, or via this page to drop us an email. We can change both HDB and condominium letterbox locks. If you’ve contacted us outside of our operating hours, we will reply on the next working day!
This post first appeared on 1 April 2018, and has been updated on 12 November 2023 to include new lock offerings and content, which our customers may find useful for making informed decisions.