|Posted on October 17, 2017 at 9:00 PM|
There is an increase in the number of locksmith scams worldwide. According to recent reports, the number of locksmiths’ scams in the US has increased by 26% over the past three years.
Most of the locksmith scams are known to target auto and home owners when they are most vulnerable especially during emergency or when in need of immediate assistance.
Most people usually think they are doing right by searching for local locksmiths online. However, what they never realize is that the locksmith scammers are today gaming most of the online directories copying the legitimate local locksmiths. Such locksmith scams never own a local shop and in fact are run by out of state call centres. There are some who does not even posses any locksmith skill. In order to avoid hiring unskilled worker or a thief to help solve your lock problem, it is important that you always take your time and carry out an in depth research first. Here are five tips to help prevent you from falling into locksmith scams.
1. Go for a Truly Local Locksmith
One of the best methods you can use to determine whether a locksmith is legit is to conduct an advance research. Ensure you take your time to contact them and ask for relevant questions. You can also check previews customer reviews.
You need to be wary of companies answering calls with generic phrases such as “locksmith services” rather than using a specific name. Find another locksmith company if a locksmith is unable to provide a legal business name. Ensure you always search for the specific address a locksmith provides to verify whether there is any other business using the same address. Always ask the company to confirm their location.
2. Verify the Locksmith License and ID
Ensure you always ask for the identification of a locksmith immediately they arrive including their license. For example, in the US only 15 states will need locksmith licensing. This makes it a criminal offense to either advertise or work as a locksmith without having the right credentials. Any legitimate locksmith will always ask for your identification to confirm if you are truly unlocking your car or home. Always be cautious whenever a locksmith shows up in unbranded vehicle or one with a different business name from the one you hired.
3. Always Request for a Cost Estimate
Most of the call centre locksmiths will always quote a price of between $15 and $40. They are always known to switch and bait customers by using low prices in their adverts only to increase the price after they arrive claiming the job is much more complex and will cost you more. Advertisements of locksmith services at prices of $15 and $40 are usually signs of scams. The locksmith fee will pay for continued training, licensing costs, tools and transportation both to and from the job. There is no locksmith company that will survive with fees of $15 and $40. Ensure you get an estimate before any work begins. Never hire a locksmith who doesn’t want to provide an estimate.
4. Inquire If There Are Any Extra Charges
It is important you ask for additional charges for things like service call minimums, emergency hours or mileage before you give go ahead for the work to be performed. Most scammers will always claim the car or home lock is obsolete and has to be replaced. They will then charge you lots of dollars to replace the lock with what they will claim as being a high security lock though in real sense it is a cheap lock that will offer you little protection.
5. Be Curious in case of Fluctuating Bids
In case the price the locksmith is offering on site does not match the one provided on phone, never allow the work to be performed. There are locksmiths who might demand payment after performing shoddy work or increasing the bill and will thereafter threaten to file a lawsuit or call the police in case you do not comply.