Locksmith scams that trap homeowners and car owners into paying a lot more money than they were quoted can be one of the most frustrating and costly frauds online in today’s market. Because the home or car owner is under the gun, the scam locksmiths know and profit from it. Here are some tips to help you differentiate between the Good Locksmiths and not get scammed by the bad guys.

#1 When you look for a reputable locksmith, check their website.

There should be pictures of REAL employees, and not stock photos made to look like employees. There should be evidence of some type of accreditation such as ALOA (Associated Locksmiths of America) or the BBB, (Better Business Bureau). Every reputable locksmith will be a member of ALOA.

#2 Also, on their website there should be information that indicates they are a part of your local community.

Pop-A-lock of Indy provides free unlocks in case of a child or pet being locked in a vehicle and makes donations to the local Ronald McDonald House and Humane Society. This is a good sign that they are well respected and connected in their community.

#3 Check out their Facebook business page.

Once again there should be evidence that they are working in the local community. Most reputable locksmiths are on Facebook as it is one of the ways they can connect with the local community.

#4 If a very low price like $10-20 is quoted, if it’s seems too good to be true, then it most likely is.

A rock bottom price is almost a sure sign of a scam, as reputable locksmiths usually charge more. Ask where their company is headquartered if you don’t get the answers that make you comfortable, call a different locksmith and don’t further waste your time.

#5 When the locksmith arrives ask for his credentials and note the type of vehicle that he is driving.

If there is a decaled truck or car and uniformed locksmith you can be reassured that it is probably legitimate. Ask for a written estimate and beware if there is suddenly more work that needs to be done or he wants to drill out the locks immediately for more money.

#6 Don’t hand over your credit card information over the phone to some out of state dispatch center.

If only cash is accepted this is another sign of a potential rip-off.

#7 Like any local service provider, a plumber or heating and cooling specialist, don’t wait until you need one to find a qualified company.

If you need a locksmith, you will most likely be locked out of your car or home with cell phone in hand. Have a number of a reputable locksmith saved on your phone, ready in case you need one.

It is important to remember that no matter how dire you situation is, it can be compounded greatly by a “locksmith” that is ready to rip you off. It can make a situation that is already tenuous, even worse. Do your homework and look for the warning signs that can prevent your bad day from turning in to a worse one by being ripped off by an unscrupulous “locksmith”.