6 Tips to Avoid Locksmith Scams

What is a Locksmith Scam?

  • Phone book listings: Flood the phone book with 100s of listings to increase scam chances
  • Online search: Flood the search engine with 100s of listings to increase visibility
  • Fake address &/or temporary addresses: either total fake or rent a property for a month for the purpose of registering the business
  • Redirect phone numbers: Usually to call centers

Below are 6 tips to avoid locksmith scams, please invest the time to find a reliable and local locksmith before you need one in case of an emergency.

Some locksmith scams have a tendency of targeting home and auto owners when owners are in an emergency and needing immediate assistance.

Consumers believe that they’re right by searching online for a local locksmith, while not realising that locksmith scammers are imitating legitimate local locksmiths online.

In a number of cases, scamming locksmiths do not operate any local shops but operated by out of state call centres. To a certain extent, these so-called locksmiths may not even be trained as locksmiths at all.

To avoid locksmith scams, please take the time to research the company first. Below are some tips that may help with your research.

Avoiding locksmith scams - Please research the company first

There are many locksmiths you find online that may use fake addresses and directs their number to call centers, which makes it nearly impossible to track down when you have a complaint or need to file a complaint. Many of the fake addresses could be parking lots or abandon buildings, even churches and schools.


Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker can help reduce chances of being scammed bbb.org/scamtracker/us

Scammed Locksmiths Using Fake Addresses

NBC News Jeff Rossen Offers Ways to Avoid Locksmith Scams

Jeff’s Best Way To Avoid Locksmith Scams

  • Find a local locksmith in your area that has an actual store and manager
  • Talk to the manager about any locksmith services and their pricing
  • Get their business card

DO NOT PROCRASTINATE – get a reliable Locksmith contact ASAP – scammers do take advantage of any type of emergency services!

1. Look for a genuine local locksmith

  • One of the best ways is to research them in advance. Call them and ask them detailed questions.
  • If a locksmith cannot or will not provide the business’ legal name, find another locksmith.
  • If the locksmith has a “local” address, search for that specific address online and see whether any other businesses use the same address. Call to confirm its location.

2. Must get a cost estimate

Scam locksmiths will offer a lower than market price and then claim the job complexity and charges more upon arrival.

A locksmith’s fee pays for tools, labour, continued training and transportation to and from a job. Typical hong kong locksmith charge anywhere between $60-100 depending on the complexity of the lock (electronic locks would cost more).

  • Please get an estimate before any work begins.
  • This includes emergency service!
  • Don’t hire a locksmith who refuses to provide an estimate.

3. Do ask for any additional charges

Please don’t forget to ask for any extra charges for things like emergency hours, transportation or service call minimums before you agree to have the work performed.

Scammer locksmiths might claim the lock on your home or car is destroyed and needs to be replaced. These scammers will charge thousands of dollars to replace the lock with what they claim is a high-security lock, while it might be just a cheap lock offering little protection.

If the locksmith refuses to answer your questions, hang up, then it is a sign of someone who either doesn’t know what they’re doing, or plans to overcharge you for a job.

4. Watch out for price difference

If the locksmith’s on-site price doesn’t match the phone estimate, avoid this locksmith and terminate the job.

Some locksmiths may ask for payment after doing ridiculously lousy work or suddenly inflate the bill, and/or threaten to call the police if you don’t comply. Let them call the police, or offer to call for them if this happens. A reputable locksmith company will never drastically change a quoted price.

5. Do not let the locksmith drill your lock

The experienced locksmiths possess the skills and tools to unlock almost any door, and so if you’re locked out, please beware of locksmiths who recommend or insist on drilling or replacing the lock. Drilling is really only needed to open high-security locks.

A high security lock is designed to stop people from picking a door open and these locks require specialized key cut to match with the lock’s grooves.

6. Questions to ask to prevent from locksmith scams

Ask these questions before hiring a locksmith. DO NOT hire the locksmith if he/she fails to provide any detailed answers.

  • Where are you located?
  • How will you get into the house?
  • Will you need to drill my lock?
  • Can you tell me the exact process?
  • Do you need a picture of the lock?
  • Can you give me an estimate?
  • What factors will cause this price to change?
  • Do you require cash, or can I pay with a check or credit card?
  • What’s the name of the locksmith who will be coming?

 

Is Google Doing Anything to Tackle These Scam Artists?

Yes Google is. Beginning in October 2016, Google rolled up an advanced verification process for locksmiths and plumbers in San Diego as a beta test trial run. The verification process involves a combination of questions from Google and must also complete an application with a third party verification company. This new application process takes approximately two weeks to complete.

Google’s verification help document can be found under the following link:
https://support.google.com/business/answer/7129722?hl=en&ref_topic=7168925

Citations:
1. Google Fights Fraud by Cracking Down on Plumbers and Locksmiths <em>In Search Engine Journal</em>. Retrieved 21 October, 2016, from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-fights-fraud-cracking-plumbers-locksmiths/175362/.

2. About advanced verification <em>In Google Support</em>. Retrieved 21 October, 2016, from
https://support.google.com/business/answer/7129722?hl=en&ref_topic=7168925.

Locksmith Scam Cases - reported by news channels

Locksmith Scam Cases reported by various new channel: NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX 2, AZ Family, and WCCO