Scams are everywhere in our current age with the internet and smartphones, and you need to stay vigilant when it comes to protecting your personal information and finances.
Believe it or not the locksmith industry has become a place for scammers to take advantage of innocent people.
Locksmith scammers pretend to be certified professional locksmiths either online or over the phone with the intentions of taking your hard earned money, or gaining access to your properties whether it be a home, office, or shop, to return when you aren’t around to commit theft.
Here are some tips and warning signs to avoid becoming a victim to locksmith scammers.
Research the Locksmith Businesses Location
Most locksmith scam artists function as a call center that is out of your area, focusing on as large of a geographic area as they can handle in terms of driving, this could be an area of hundreds of square miles.
In most cases locksmith scammers will not provide you with a specific local address, and only pretend to be local by giving potential victims a local sounding name, or vague descriptions of the area where you are located.
Odd Phone Number
If you call a locksmith and they have a generic sounding name and give you a 1-800 number, chances are they are not legitimate and are trying to scam you. Local locksmith businesses won’t have a 1-800 number to call, there isn’t a reason for them to have it. Bottom line is, if their “business” has a 1-800 number, you should avoid them entirely.
Check them Out Online
If you get a generic sounding business name, a weird telephone number, or a vague or weird sounding location name, check them out on google maps. You should in this day and age with any reputable small or large business be able to find their location in your area on google or bing maps.
Another good research option is to see if they have any reviews. Simply checking to see if other people in your area have used their service and left any positive or negative glowing reviews. You could also search for their website but be aware that websites are easy to make and made to look professional in the present day for pretty low cost, allowing anyone to make a phony website. Look for reputable links, biographical information, or a blog.
Check the Locksmiths ID and License
There are 15 states in the United States that require locksmiths to have a locksmithing license. You might live in these states listed below. If you live in a state that does not require a license, more the reason to check for one.
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
If you do, and your locksmith cannot provide their locksmithing license, that will be a big red flag. A good locksmith should even ask for your ID to make sure the car or property he is working on is indeed yours, to make sure he’s not helping someone pretending to be someone else.
Beware of random extra charges that the locksmith might try to add to a bill. In fact, ask him prior to hiring him about any additional charges that may arise due to the work needed. If the locksmith is vague about extra charges, or springs extra charges on you in person before the work is done, do not hire him or have him do the work.
Do Not Let the Locksmith Change Your Locks
This is probably the biggest warning on the list. Unless your locks are irreparably damaged, and you know that it is no longer usable and needs to be replaced, do not let the locksmith change your locks. Reliable locksmiths should have the skills to open your lock without needing to drill or replace your entire lock. Only high security locks like those used commercially would potentially require drilling to simply unlock it. If they first move it to drill out or replace our locks, it’s most likely a scammer, and he may have keys to access your property when you’re not around.
Some of these warning signs, once brought up, may seem fairly obvious. But when you’re locked out of your business, car or home and in a hurry it’s easy to overlook many of these warning signs. Take a bit of time to do some research on who you intend to hire and make sure it’s a reputable local locksmithing business before hiring.
Action Locksmith is a trusted Michigan locksmith that has been keeping Michigan homes and businesses secure and up to date for over 30 years. We are licensed, family owned and operated with experience in virtually all facets of locksmithing. We handle everything form re-keying to door repair and installation, access control, camera systems and correct code violations on doors and locks. Our hard work and dedication have made us one of the best locksmith companies in Michigan and we are happy to help.
Call us today for a consultation!