It seems that locking yourself out of your home or business is inevitable. We’ve all experienced that moment when our heart sinks as we realize we are trapped outside. In most cases, the next step is to enlist the help of a professional locksmith. Before hiring anyone, however, be sure to research the locksmiths in your area.
The most significant problem in the locksmith industry today is that of the ‘locksmith scammers’. Scammers are individuals calling themselves locksmiths but have minimal training, are not certified, and will not stand by advertised or quoted prices given over the phone. The price you see online will not be the price you pay at the end of the service. The saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is”, that is certainly the case when it comes to scammers. If a door unlocking service is listed for $15, it’s probably going to cost you more like $85 to $150 and sometimes higher. The best thing you can do to stop these scammers is build awareness.
The Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) is an international association of locksmiths and security professionals that are actively warning consumers of locksmith scamming. Hiring anyone to handle your locksmithing needs without proper research can be dangerous.
“This scheme entices locked-out consumers with large ads that give the impression they are calling a local business,” says ALOA’s Executive Director, David M. Lowell, CAE, CML. “These companies manipulate listings with multiple false addresses and phone numbers to make them seem like a neighborhood business. In actuality, the victims frequently are calling out of state operations that are not locksmith companies at all. The consumer is quoted a reasonable price over the phone, but when a person posing as a locksmith finishes the job, the victim is charged a considerable amount more for unnecessary and sub-standard work.”
To avoid getting scammed by a fake locksmith, be aware of these 5 tips:
- If a company advertising includes the ALOA logo, this signals a qualified member
- If you call a number you find online or in the yellow pages and they don’t identify themselves as their legal business name when answering, you should be concerned. Hang up and move on.
- You should ask for and receive a written estimate for any work required. You should also receive an itemized invoice at the completion of the work performed. A legitimate locksmith will not perform work without prior discussion and approval.
- A legitimate locksmith will arrive in a clearly marked vehicle and in uniform. They will also be able to provide you with a valid locksmith license/registration.
- Any trained locksmith can pick a lock, you should be concerned if the person pulls out a drill before attempting to pick your lock.
If you feel uncomfortable for any reason whatsoever with the person that has arrived, it is your right to refuse service. If you are threatened in any way, call 9-1-1 immediately.
A good place to start to find a legitimate locksmith is findalocksmith.com or fairtradelocksmiths.com. These sites provide information for ALOA qualified locksmiths from around the country. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau for information on locksmiths in your area.
We urge you to be proactive in this matter and program the phone number of a trusted locksmith into your phone before you need one. Whether you choose to work with Pop-A-Lock or another local locksmith in your area, stay informed and share the information provided here with family, friends, neighbors. We feel that there is nothing more important than the safety and security of your family and home, employees and business.
Visit our website to learn what makes Pop-A-Lock America’s most trusted locksmith franchise, and, as always, stay safe!