If you’ve ever been locked out of your car or home, you know the frantic frustration that comes along with trying to get back in. Making a bad situation worse, sometimes locksmiths will attempt to scam people out of money—they do this in several ways. They might try a bait and switch tactic, where they tell you on the phone that unlocking your door will be one price, only to come up with extraneous fees and rates once they’re doing the work. In order to avoid locksmith scams, we’ve come up with 12 tips for spotting them so that you can shut them down before you’re taken for a ride.
Top Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed By a Fake Locksmith
1) Make Sure They’re a Legitimate Locksmith
Before you call and have a locksmith come out, be sure they’re a legitimate business. Too often, shady locksmiths won’t list a physical address because then they have to answer to upset customers who have been scammed. If you notice that a locksmith doesn’t list any professional address, you should probably find a different company to work with.
2) Check Their Reviews
The easiest way to check and make sure that a company is reputable is by reading their reviews online. Dozens of one-star reviews or unsatisfied customers are a good sign you should look somewhere else for a locksmith.
3) Call In Advance of Needing Their Services to Learn More
The best defense is a good offense, right? While we may not think to do so, it’s best to find a reputable locksmith before you ever need one—this way you can ask your questions in advance, then save the phone number of a company you find trustworthy.
4) Ask Upfront About Any Extra Locksmith Charges
A lot of scams will involve promising you a low price, only to suddenly tack on other charges after the services are rendered, forcing you to pay up. Ask on the phone if there will be other charges.
5) Make Sure Estimates Match
When you call a locksmith, ask for an estimate, and when the work is done, compare the actual cost. If they are wildly different, contact the main office.
6) Check the Locksmith’s Vehicle
When your locksmith arrives, be sure they’re not in an unmarked, suspicious vehicle. Too many scam-artist locksmiths will claim to be associated with a company when in fact they are not. Legitimate businesses will have, at least, marked cars.
7) Don’t Believe Outlandish Claims
If a locksmith tells you they’ll need to shatter your window or otherwise break a door to get a lock undone, only to say that they have a more expensive option that would prevent that, don’t buy it. These scare-tactics are textbook scam tricks.
8) Get Everything in Writing from your Locksmith
When your locksmith gives you pricing before doing the job, get it in writing so that there are no surprises when they’re finished.
9) Don’t Pay Until You’re Happy With the Job
Similarly, if you’re not pleased with the work a locksmith does (scratches on your car, etc.), contact their company and don’t pay for the services until you are pleased with the outcome.
10) Make Sure the Work is Legit
Make sure that you’re able to use the locks completely after the locksmith is finished working and that they aren’t too difficult to unlock. Once you’re positive your keys still work, you’re set.
11) Use a Credit Card to Pay, If Possible
In many cases, fraudulent locksmiths will force their customers to pay in cash, as there’s then no recourse for the scam victim. Insist on using a credit card so that, if you need to, you can contest the charges.
12) If You Do Get Burned, Don’t Stay Silent
Finally, if you do get scammed after all, don’t stay silent. Contact the Better Business Bureau and leave reviews online anywhere that you think they’ll be seen, and if it warrants, you can even file a police report.
Don’t Fall for a Scam from a Locksmith
If you’re looking for a trustworthy locksmith, contact Acme Lock today. We have two locations, in Cincinatti, OH, and Northern Kentucky, and we’re proud of the work we do for our customers. Whether it’s a building you need to get into or a vehicle, we’re ready to help. Call us today.