Scammers in the Los Angeles Area

Locksmith scams are a major problem in California.  Pomona has scammers. Claremont has scammers. La Verne, San Dimas, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Montclair, Ontario, Upland, and every city around them has scammers.  If you called a locksmith, could you tell whether they’re legit?  Here are some ways you can protect yourself from scammers:

  • Research reputable locksmiths: Before you actually need a locksmith, take the time to research and find reputable locksmiths in your area. Look for well-established, licensed, and insured locksmith companies with positive customer reviews. You can check websites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or review platforms for reliable information.  
  • Phone numbers:  Some scammers will spoof legitimate phone numbers.  This is especially prevalent with 1-800 call centers.  Most of them don’t vet the locksmith they call.  Always call the number back if something seems off.
    • We have done work for some of those call centers, and not once have we been asked about our credentials.  
  • Social media:  When people post about their company offering things like cheap car keys, don’t blindly trust the post.  Find the company name, check how long the page has been in use, and find the license number (if available).  A lot of scammers will also take advantage of people in crisis by offering cheap services on a social media post, but will raise the price drastically when they show up.
  • Verify credentials: When contacting a locksmith, ask for their business name, address, and phone number. Make sure they have a valid locksmith license issued by the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS).
  • Get price estimates: When you call a locksmith, ask for a price estimate for the service you require. Be cautious if they give vague or unusually low estimates over the phone. Scammers frequently quote low to entice customers and then drastically increase the price once they arrive.  Your best bet is to call 3 or 4 locksmiths and get quotes, so you can compare.  Most locksmiths have a service fee to come out (driving is expensive!), so be wary if a company doesn’t disclose theirs.
    • Remember, if a quote sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Ask for identification: Before a locksmith shows up to do work, find out over the phone what the name of the person performing your work is.  You can also ask for their license number to check.  Once the locksmith arrives at your location, ask for ID.
  • Request a written invoice: Before any work begins, ask for a written invoice that clearly outlines the services to be provided and the associated costs. This way, you have a record of the agreed-upon price and services. 
    • What I will frequently do to quote is text a photo of the quote to my customer before I go.

  • Avoid cash-only: Be cautious if a locksmith insists on cash-only payments, or will only accept things like Zelle. Reputable locksmiths usually offer multiple payment options, including credit cards and (sometimes) checks.  Our company, for example, accepts the following payment methods:
    • Cash
    • Card
    • Business Checks
    • Venmo
    • CashApp
    • Apple Pay
    • Samsung Pay
    • Google Pay
  • Watch out for aggressive behavior:  Scammers sometimes will attempt to force work or payment of work in a way that is unethical.  Some examples include:
    • “Starting” work, jacking up the price, and refusing to finish unless the extortion is paid
      • Sometimes they will break or steal parts if you refuse the higher price
    • Threatening physical violence
    • Yelling
    • Harassment, either via phone call or in person
    • Assault, such as spitting
    • Note:  If a locksmith starts doing any of these things, call 911.  Scammers will almost always take off.  Get an officer out and file a report, even if they leave.  Yes, the can be arrested for these things.

By following these steps, you can minimize the risk of falling prey to locksmith scammers, protect yourself and your property, and contribute to stopping their fraudulent activities in California.  Give Katz Locksmith a call at 909-942-0282 to guarantee you’re working with an ethical locksmith!

Katz Locksmith Information:


Katz Locksmith is a full-service company that specializes in commercial locksmith work.  We are family and woman-owned, and we’re committed to providing great service!  We service businesses in areas such as Eastvale, Claremont, Corona, Fontana, Glendora, Montclair, Ontario, Rialto, San Bernardino, Upland, and more!  We go into mountain areas such as Mt. Baldy, Crestline, and Big Bear.  For additional information or booking a service call us @ (909) 942-0282.


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Athena Parker