Let’s face it, locksmith scams are quite common these days. In fact, they are becoming a part of our daily life. The reason why these scams are happening could be because of the necessity of the service and the ease of scamming. Well, if truth be told, very few locksmith companies take advantage of people, but con-artists use the service to target home and auto owners when they are at their most vulnerable state and require immediate assistance.
The main reason why these categories of people are targeted is because they never put in the right amount of effort to find a reliable locksmith beforehand. They only do so once they find themselves in some emergency situation. Most of the time, these fake companies show up charging much more than the advertised price, leaving people stunned and disheartened. Many of us think that searching for locksmith services online is probably a smart decision. However, there is a possibility that we could end up becoming a victim of fake locksmiths who usually impersonate legitimate ones available on the online directories.
To avoid being scammed by a con-artist or an untrained impersonator, take the time to research the company first, and then follow these tips before you hire one:
Tip #1: Find a local locksmith before you actually need one
Don’t just wait for something bad to happen before you start searching. Instead, spare some time and put in some effort in advance to find a reliable locksmith who will get you out of any bad situation without burning a hole in your pocket. The best way to avoid locksmith scams is to do your research upfront and find a local locksmith before you actually find yourself being locked out of your car, home, etc.
Once you find a locksmith business that is registered with a local address, what you can do is – conduct an online search on the advertised address and check whether any other business is registered with the same address, just to make sure that it is a legitimate one. Also, you can call them, ask questions, get a fair estimate and decide accordingly. Make sure that you check online reviews of the locksmith service you’re planning to hire.
Tip #2: Ask for identification
When the locksmith arrives at your place, the first and the foremost thing you need to do is – ask for identification prior to allowing them to start work, which includes a locksmith license where applicable. All licensed locksmiths have a Master Security License Number, which is displayed on their premises, their vehicle signage, and in any advertising they do. Also, it is mandatory for all legitimate locksmiths to carry their photo identity cards with them all the time for verification of their identity.
In the U.S, only 15 states require locksmith licensing, and California is one of them, which means that it is illegal to advertise or provide locksmith services in Rancho Cucamonga, CA without proper credentials. Moreover, be cynical of locksmiths who claim to be licensed that don’t require them to be licensure. A legitimate locksmith may also ask you for identification to verify that the home or a car they are unlocking belongs to you.
Tip #3: Beware of low prices and get a written estimate
Always get a rough estimate on the phone before hiring any technician. Any legitimate locksmith company will provide you with a detailed estimate over the phone. In contrast, fake companies always bait-and-switch customers by advertising low prices, but they purposely price-gouge after arriving at your place, claiming that the job is more difficult than expected and will cost you more. So, that’s why it’s always better to get a written estimate prior to allowing the technician to start the job.
A written estimate will include everything from tool fees, licensing costs, emergency service cost, hidden fees, transportation fees, and other additional charges. If a locksmith refuses to give you a signed written estimate, then possibilities are that they don’t belong to a reputable locksmith company and are just looking for ways to make a quick buck. Don’t hire a locksmith who is not willing to provide you a written estimate. The on-site estimate should match the phone estimate, if it doesn’t, don’t allow the work to be performed.
Tip #4: Make sure they accept credit cards, not just cash
All legitimate companies today provide you with the choice of making the payment by cash, check, or debit/credit card. If a locksmith insists you to pay in cash, then there is a reasonable chance that the company is a scam. Fake locksmiths would always prefer cash, possibly because it is difficult to trace. That’s the reason why it’s always advised to pay your locksmith through a credit card, as it is the safest way of making payments and also protects you against fraud. In addition, if you are making a card payment, possibilities are that you’ll get your money back from the credit card company in case you are scammed by a con-artist.
These tips would definitely help you avoid locksmith scams, save your money, and also find a great locksmith service. If you’re looking for a trustworthy and 24-hour locksmith service around you, contact Katz’s Lock and Keys today. Count on us for great customer service, reliability, affordability, honesty, and quick response.
Check out this video to avoid getting scammed by a Fake Locksmith.