When people reach out for help after locking their keys in a car or need a new lock installed on a home or business, they should feel 100 percent confident that the locksmith professional is going to be honest. Although most people in this industry are on the up-and-up, unfortunately, scams do happen.
Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Locksmith Scams
- One of the biggest scams involves a locksmith insisting on drilling or replacing an entire lock rather than just unlocking a door. If a technician insists the only way to gain entry is by performing work that involves drilling or lock replacement, chances are good it is a scam.
- It is common for legitimate locksmith companies to use names similar to their business name simply to improve position online, but when contacting a company for assistance, the individual answering the phone should use the actual business name as opposed to a generic phrase, like “locksmith services” or “24-hour locksmith services.” In the same sense, if the company refuses to provide the real business name, this is a warning sign of a possible scam.
- Even if the locksmith company is well-known and arrives on scene in a vehicle with the business name plastered all over, you should always ask for identification. In Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, also request the technician’s license, as licensing is mandated in these states.
- Prior to any work being performed, request the actual price or at least an estimate. This is for not only lock installation and repair, but 24-hour vehicle emergency service as well. If the price quoted on the phone does not match the price on the scene, never allow work to be done.
- Before agreeing to any work being done, not only should the actual charges be clearly outlined, but also any additional charges. For example, some locksmith companies will tack on mileage or have a minimum fee for service calls.
Helpful Safety Measures
Sometimes, gathering information before a locksmith is needed can be difficult. However, the following safety measures can save you time, money, and frustration.
- Before calling a locksmith, conduct online research. This can entail going to the company’s website or a search engine to find ALOA accreditation and customer feedback.
- When making the phone call for service, ask the company where its professional technicians are based, the registered name of the business, and if the locksmiths are licensed.
- Always request a preliminary cost estimate. If the price comes back extremely low, remember the saying, “if it looks too good to be true – it probably is.”
- Advise the locksmith company that the technician’s identification and certification and/or licensing will be requested upon arrival.
- In addition to writing down the name of the locksmith company, after the technician shows up to do the work, take down the license plate number or any other identifying information.