It’s not as scary as it sounds, but locksmith scams are now a regular part of our lives. When homeowners and auto owners are in their most vulnerable states and in urgent need of help, locksmiths will target them.
We feel that most of the time, searching online for a locksmith is a good idea. We could fall for scamming or fake locksmiths that imitate legitimate ones in online directories. These fake locksmiths pretend to be local locksmiths, and don’t even own a local workshop. These so-called locksmiths may not be properly trained and operate through out-of state call centers.
You can avoid scamming companies or untrained impersonators by taking a few precautionary steps.
1. “Local” is the Keyword
Research is important. Do your research in advance.
Even if it is an emergency situation, you need to be aware of any services that may answer the phone with a generic phrase such as “Welcome locksmith services”. You should find another locksmith if the person you called refuses to give you a legal business address.
You should also check if companies use an “800” or a local number. An “800” number could indicate that the locksmith you’re calling is an overseas call centre.
2. Verify your identification and license
It is crucial to ask the locksmith for identification when he arrives at your location.
Only fifteen states require locksmith licensing. This makes it illegal to work as a locksmith or advertise without proper credentials. Google allows you to check if your state is among the 15 on Google.
3. Low prices are to be avoided
Before allowing any technician access to your home, always get a quote over the phone. Do not trust locksmiths who offer a ridiculously low price. These are red flags. Ask about labor costs, emergency costs, and the service fees.
Do not allow someone to begin work on your home or vehicle without fully understanding the costs.
4. It is better to avoid hidden fees
In emergency situations, it is important to ask about any additional fees.
Scammers might claim that the lock on your vehicle or home is old and needs to be replaced. You will be charged an exorbitant amount to replace your existing lock with a new one. However, this is not always true. They could charge you to replace your existing lock with a cheaper one at a higher cost.
5.Ask for Vehicle Identification
Keep an eye on what is going on around you. If someone appears in an unmarked vehicle and claims to be with a locksmith company, don’t allow them to begin work. Only legitimate locksmith companies send their technicians in marked vehicles with company logos, phone numbers and brand-named tools. This is an appeal for awareness.
6. Get a written estimate
Ask for a written estimate. This will protect you from any hidden fees or additional labor costs. Do not permit a locksmith to begin the job if they are hesitant to provide you with a written estimate. This could indicate that the locksmith is not trustworthy and wants to make quick cash.
7. The written estimate should be compared to the on-site estimate
A reputable locksmith company will give you a detailed estimate over the telephone conversation. This estimate will include labor, cost of arrival and any necessary parts. This estimate will be included in the on-site estimate. You may be scammed by locksmiths who will alter your estimate once they arrive. They might also add hidden fees before work even begins. Avoid such dishonest service providers.
8. Refuse to drill and replace
Any locksmith company that claims the lock must be drilled or changed is a fraud. Experiential locksmith technicians are capable of unlocking almost any door. If they ask to drill the lock, just say no. They may be scamming you or looking to make more money. Every locksmith company is certified to unlock any door.
9. Cash transactions should be avoided
Genuine locksmith businesses offer the ability to pay cash, check, and/or credit. A company that insists only on cash transactions is likely to be looking for quick cash and is almost certainly a fraud. This is a crucial question that you need to ask. Before they begin work, make sure you know how they pay.
10. During the course of the work, do not leave the locksmiths alone
While I don’t suggest you shouldn’t trust anyone who comes to your aid, it is important that you keep an eye on their actions. You can avoid being scammed in more ways than you can imagine if you are careful.
You should contact your state attorney general immediately if you feel you were overcharged or swindled by a locksmith. You might be able to get your money back if you’re lucky. Stay safe and be careful.