There were an estimated 263.6 million registered vehicles in the United States in 2015, and that number is continually growing. There were also an estimated 127.59 million households in the United States in 2018.
That means there are over 400 million locks – if you add business and commercial locks – and over 1 billion keys in the US that can be stolen or broken. The odds are that you or someone you’re with will need to call a Pop-A-Lock locksmith at some point in time.
But how do you know you can trust someone you find on the internet?
Unfortunately, locksmith scamming happens regularly. However, there are signs to look for and tips to know that will help you avoid being scammed. If you know what to look for – and what to avoid – when you get in trouble, you won’t be taken advantage of, or put yourself in harms way by locksmith scammers.
One of the best pieces of advice we can give you is don’t wait until you’re rushed or panicked to find a trusted locksmith. If you take the time to do research before you need a locksmith, when the time comes you’ll know who to call and feel confident in your choice.
Things to research ahead of time:
- Should be well-reviewed – If you Google search for “locksmiths near me,” there will likely be a lot of results that come up. One of the first things you should look for is if a locksmith is well-reviewed. They should have a significant number of reviews, and those reviews should be majority positive.
- Check for licensure and locksmith ID when applicable – A trustworthy locksmith will have a locksmith ID, and will be licensed if in a state that requires licensure. These should be indicated on the locksmith’s website. You can also find out more about state licensing requirements here.
- Look around on the website – A trustworthy locksmith should have branding, which will be obvious on their website. They will also note things like a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, potentially case studies from past work, a blog providing knowledge and expertise, and more.
When You Call the Locksmith
So, you find yourself locked out of your car at your daughter’s soccer game, or after meeting some friends at the mall. You’ve done some research before on local locksmiths and you feel pretty confident on the one you’ve chosen to call. Once you get on the phone with the locksmith, there are a few things you can look out for, to verify whether or not they’re trustworthy.
Once you get on the phone with the locksmith:
- Ask for a cost estimate. It’s best to call and talk directly to a technician, so they can get all the details and information they need to give a quote. If possible, it’s a good idea to ask the technician to send the quote in writing as well, after talking to them verbally. Ask up front about any potential additional charges that may come up.
- Make sure they answer the phone with the company name. Don’t trust a generic answer like “Hello, locksmithing services.” This is a big red flag.
- Ask about payment methods. Requiring you to pay in cash is another possible red flag, and likely means you should avoid that locksmith.
When the Locksmith Arrives
You found a locksmith that you’ve read about in your research and seemed trustworthy over the phone. That’s great!
Odds are, by this point in the process you would have figured out if a locksmith seems shady or not. But don’t totally let your guard down just yet.
When the locksmith arrives on the scene, some things to look for include:
- They should be in a clearly marked vehicle and/or uniform. A trustworthy locksmith will show up in a branded company car, not a personal car, and possibly a uniform as well. At Pop-A-Lock, we guarantee our technicians will arrive in both a clearly-marked car and a uniform to ensure easy identification!
- Drilling a lock should always be a last resort. Professional locksmiths go through extensive training to ensure they can fix a lock or key with the absolute minimum amount of damage to any car or home. If they say immediately that they’ll need to drill the lock, they are not a professional and not trustworthy. There are some cases where drilling may be necessary, but it will always be a last resort, and the locksmith should make clear that other tactics will not work.
- The cost should not vary significantly from the quote they gave you. Once the locksmith arrives and sees the situation in person, there may be a small fluctuation in cost due to certain variables. However, the cost change should never be significant, and no work should be done without the approval of the new cost.
- They should have an ID on them. As with everyone, this helps confirm they are who they say they are.
Don’t Be the Next Locksmith Scam Victim
Having to choose and meet someone from the internet is always scary. Especially if you’re in an emotional state – like being locked out of your car or home – and might not have time to think clearly or think every detail through.
And, unfortunately, there are people out there willing to take advantage of other people. Particularly of naive people. This doesn’t have to be you, though!
When it comes time for you to pick a locksmith, there are a lot of indicators you can look out for that will quickly let you know whether or not they’re trustworthy. Do your research ahead of time, listen to your gut, don’t trust someone who can’t give you a straightforward answer or seems inexperienced.
Pop-A-Lock is located nation-wide and provides 24/7 mobile, emergency unlocking services! If you find yourself in need of a locksmith, we’ve got you covered! Anywhere, any time. CALL US today!