Security is one of our biggest concerns. We love to know that we can live in our homes with peace of mind while the dozens of valuable equipment in our offices are 100% safe. However, just like every other machine, our locks fail to function as expected, and we need to have them fixed or replaced as fast as possible. At this point, we are at our most vulnerable and could be the target of locksmith scams. While searching for local locksmiths, some people fall into the hands of fakes who target auto and homeowners, damaging their locks instead of fixing them. However, this is no fault of theirs as these locksmith scammers are skilled at imitating legitimate local locksmiths in online directories, effectively deceiving them. So, how do you avoid locksmith scams? Let’s start with how they work.
How the Locksmith Scam Works
Usually, the foundation of a locksmith scam is a nonexistent company. These scammers run multiple ads and create websites that look real, but they are all products of a shady person or company. Unfortunately, these ads and websites look legitimate enough to fool thousands of people. Some of these websites even include customer testimonials and use incredibly low prices to rank higher on Google. Therefore, locksmith scams attract victims with fake customer testimonials and unbelievably low fees.
As soon as you get hooked and place that call to the locksmith, chances are the company’s call center is not based in your country. They get you convinced with an irresistibly low quote. Of course, you would think it’s your lucky day, and you won’t believe that you could get such a “sweet” deal. However, this fake company dispatches a sub-contractor to your area where they will put the final phase into action.
Instead of fixing your lock, which would take a really short time, this locksmith will drill your lock so much that it ends up being destroyed. The ripple effect of this is a massive increase in your bill. This will double the time meant to be spent on the job while the locksmith claims it was more complicated than expected. As planned, you may end up paying as much as ten times more than your original quote. They will be banking on you paying the bill without a fuss and chalking it up as one of the many lessons of life. Now that we know the template, what are those things you can do to avoid being a victim of locksmith scams? Here are some top tips.
Top tips to help you avoid locksmith scams
Research in advance
To find a truly local locksmith, you need to be sure that they are trustworthy. Rather than paying attention to the ridiculously low pricing, you need to conduct detailed research in advance. This includes calling them to ask as many questions as possible. Do not rely on only the reviews on their websites but also check for what other people have said about them on other social media pages. A good locksmith company will have a traceable digital footprint that lets you know more about them.
When you place a call, phrases like “locksmith services” are a huge red flag. A legitimate company would respond to your call with the business’s legal name. To be on the safer side, look out for a local address, and search online to ensure that no other company is using the same address. Be sure to confirm that they are using a local phone number to avoid dealing with an out-of-state call center.
Confirm that they are licensed
In about fifteen states in the United States, it is a crime to work or advertise as a locksmith without the required licensing documents. Therefore, don’t trust locksmiths that insist that they are licensed in one of the states that don’t make licensure compulsory. A legitimate locksmith will also request verification from you through a form of identification that lets them know that they are unlocking your property. It could be your car papers or identification that match your home. This shows that they take security seriously and adds to the credibility of the locksmith. Also, don’t trust locksmith companies that pull up in an unmarked vehicle or show up in a car with a different business name from who you made arrangements with earlier.
Don’t be attracted to extremely cheap services
Locksmith scams thrive on their ability to rope people in with mouthwatering deals of cheap services. People who can’t believe their “luck” at getting such a deal would fall for it completely. However, you can avoid locksmith scams by asking for an estimate before the locksmith begins any work, including emergency services. The typical rate for locksmith services starts from at least $60. However, locksmith scams quote prices as low as $15 and then price gouge so much that you pay way more than necessary. Therefore, you should know when a fee is too good to be true. A locksmith’s fee usually includes calculations for to and fro transportation, continued training, licensing costs, and tools. Therefore, a company that charges $15 would close down in no time. Avoid locksmiths that refuse to give an estimate before working on your locks.
Find out about extra charges
You have to fully agree on the minimum amount for extra services like mileage and emergency hours. The locksmith has to let you know everything about the amount you will be expected to pay before the work is done. Locksmith scammers lie that cheap locks are high-security locks that would need to be replaced with locks worth hundreds of dollars. Therefore, you can avoid locksmith scams by asking questions about how they intend to carry out their services. A good locksmith will be able to demonstrate expertise about the job and answer your questions without issues.
Even after following the above tips, you could still end up a victim of locksmith scams. These scammers are skilled at defrauding people of their hard-earned money. To save you the trouble of losing out, here is a locksmith company that is both credible and affordable: Chiko’s DC Locksmith. We have spent several years garnering a reputation in the Washington DC area as a reliable company for dealing with residential, industrial, and commercial locksmith emergencies. We are completely transparent in delivering our services. Simply contact us to find out more as we are ready to attend to your needs 24/7.