Locksmith Scammers Will Pick Your Pocket Too Locksmith Scams and How To Avoid Them

Locksmith Scams

What is a Locksmith Scam?  

You’ve locked yourself out of your home or car. Disappointment surges over you as you blame yourself for being so careless in the first place. Without wasting any time, you take your phone out and type in “locksmith near me”. Seeking an emergency locksmith, you click the first name you see. This is where it potentially gets dangerous, and you are at risk of falling victim to one of the most popular scams out there: the locksmith scam. 

Locksmiths are dedicated, hard workers that handle all types of locks and key situations, but finding one can prove to be more challenging than just searching up “locksmith” and calling the first number that you see. 

Many locksmith scammers mimic the websites and advertisements of reputable locksmiths to lure you in and even make you feel safe. When in fact, they are not a real business, they don’t know what they’re doing, and they will charge you for much more than you previously agreed on due to “technical errors”. 

Losing your house or car keys is frustrating, embarrassing, and expensive. If you are in a rush to find a locksmith, you may not notice the warning signs that a fake service provider gives you, landing you in a locksmith scam. Learning how to recognize the signs of locksmith scams can help you avoid them, even in the most difficult and stressful of times. 

The Most Common Locksmith Scams

One of the most dangerous aspects about locksmith scams is that they come in many different shapes and sizes: they consist of anything from extortionate pricing to low-quality labor work to result in identity theft and the creation of extra keys to gain access to a property when the customer is not around. Scary to think about, right? 

Some of the most common and devious scams include: 

  • Bait and Switch: Locksmith scammers bait you. They advertise low prices and deals to attract customers, only to end up charging you as much as $400-500  more while giving you made-up excuses about your door lock. A door lock remains a door lock, and locksmiths deal with all sorts of them all the time. Your lock should be no different than any other, therefore no unnecessary equipment or labor work should be necessary. Don’t let them trick you into believing your lock is uncommon. 
  • Identify Theft: Customers will pay the price when they receive the service they asked for. But the scammer will steal private information to either sell or utilize for themselves making it extremely dangerous for you, the customer. Letting a stranger in your house is not something that you should always be comfortable about, so keep an eye on them while they’re gathering their tools and setting them up in your home or your car. Scammers will look for anything they can get their hands on for their own personal benefit. 
  • Cash Only Scams: After “repairing” a lock, a fake locksmith will tell you they can only accept cash payments, maybe because their card machine isn’t working. This excuse is popular as it prevents the customer from disputing the charge at a later time. Locksmiths are a legitimate business, and they should always accept card payments or at least warn you before getting hired. Speaking about price and form of payment before fixing the lock could help you avoid this type of situation from happening. 
  • The New Handle Scam: Scammers will tell you that the only way to gain access into your home or car is by removing it and replacing it with a new one. This means a customer will have to pay for a new, overpriced one. It’s a scam that works almost every time, so beware if your door really needs one or not. Most of the time, it does not require a new handle. 

Due to all these frauds going around, you might be worried about finding a real locksmith at an affordable price. The best thing you can do is find one before needing one. This will give you time to research for a reputable locksmith with good reviews and affordable pricing. And, if you do happen to be locked out of your home or car, you’ll know exactly who to contact without the hassle of skimming through the web in a panic. 

Locksmith Scams warnings

Locksmith Scam Warning Signs 

Every day, over a quarter of a million people make at least one desperate call to locksmiths. A simple glance online will show an endless amount of locksmiths in your area. So the question is, do you know for a fact if the locksmith you are about to hire to fix your lock is worthy of your trust and money? 

There are warning signs, or red flags, that you can look out for when searching for a locksmith near you. Before deciding to hire a locksmith, you can ask yourself a few questions to determine whether or not your locksmith is credible. Some questions include: 

  • Where are you located? 
  • How will you get to my location? 
  • What is the price estimate? What factors could change the price? 
  • Will you need to drill my lock, if so, why? 

Keep in mind that locksmiths have as little knowledge of locks as we do. By asking them a few questions and observing how they answer them, you can be able to determine if they will pick your lock, and not just your money. Fraudsters are out there trying to take advantage of you and your money during a very vulnerable time, so it is no surprise that there are countless of them out there. Knowing how to avoid them is a must. As frustrating as your situation may be, taking your time to find a reputable locksmith will help you avoid falling victim to a locksmith scam, or any scam for that matter. 

Let’s look at some things that you should be aware of when dealing with a locksmith scam.

  • Low prices and good deals are great, but they can be too good to be true. If the ad offers a discounted rate, or even a free first-time for customers, it’s probably just a way to lure you into hiring them. If you’re like me and you have little knowledge about locks and what fixing them should entail, be wary of labor workers telling you that they will do it for a low price. Keep in mind that no locksmith can stay in business by charging a very low rate. Customers with little knowledge about locks are a scammer’s favorite target. 
  • The call should never be vague. When you call what you believe is a locksmith, and a business doesn’t answer with their business name and instead says “locksmith” or “service”, hang up. A business should always answer the phone introducing themselves and their company. 
  • If a locksmith is taking hours to get to you, and the response time is slow, you should be suspicious. This is probably because they are not as close to you as they’d like you to believe, so they rather you wait then tell them not to come and opt for someone else closer in your area. 
  • Lack of consistency in appearing is a red flag to look out for.When a scammer shows up, they will probably not be in uniform or carry ID that would prove credibility. Their vehicle will most likely be unmarked. Don’t fall for a painted logo or a hand-written business card. Reputable locksmiths will be professional in every aspect. 
  • Excuses and more excuses. A fake locksmith will begin coming up with excuses as soon as they start working on your lock. Some of the common excuses consist of: “it’s a commercial lock”, “this is a high security lock” meaning that it can’t be picked. This is when the drilling comes into place. Drilling will destroy your lock giving you no choice but to replace it, creating an immediate overcharge. In the case of car locks, a fake locksmith may tell you that your car is a newer or older model, insisting it requires a new lock as well, when in reality, it really doesn’t or shouldn’t require one. Skilled locksmiths should be able to pick a lock strategically without causing any damage to it. It is extremely unlikely they will need to drill into it. 

What To Do If You’ve Fallen Victim To A Locksmith Scam

Before taking action, be sure that you have actually been scammed. There are locksmiths that are overpriced, this doesn’t mean you’ve been scammed. If you’ve fallen for a scam, there are actions that you can take. And unfortunately, contacting the police isn’t one of those steps. Police don’t enforce consumer protection laws. 

Before doing anything, pay close attention to small details. Keep all receipts and other documents provided by the locksmith. You can also keep information on the locksmith, such as car description and license plate number. You can either write them down or take pictures of everything. 

If you come to the unpleasant realization that you’ve been scammed, contact the company and request a refund. Don’t set high expectations for this, but trying can’t hurt. The more proof you can have to support your efforts, the more convincing your plea will be. 

A second action you can take is contacting your bank. If you paid via debit or credit card, you can claim fraudulent charges. This is why it’s important to be wary of cash only charges. 

Finally, you can file a complaint. You can submit complaints to authorities such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Cyber Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and your state’s consumer protection division of the Attorney General’s office. The Cyber Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), also known as the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – will be effective only if the scammer’s information is on the internet. The more complaints these organizations can gather, the sooner they can stop the scammer.

Importance of Keys

The Importance of Keys and How To Protect Them

Keys give us access to our cars and homes, but they also protect us. Unfortunately, they are also tied to scams and unnecessary costs. FOUND ME has designed a global solution to mitigate the risk and provide you with the peace of mind you need when facing such a stressful and inconvenient situation. 

Placing a FOUND ME tag or label on your house or car keys will allow a Good Samaritan who finds them an easy, quick and confidential way to get in touch with you. The Good Samaritan simply needs to scan the QR code on the FOUND ME label or tag to be simply placed in a private chat room. FOUND ME could help you avoid a locksmith scam and the high cost of replacing a lock. To learn more about FOUND ME and how it can help you protect your things, visit https://foundme.com

 

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