Avoid the Locksmith Scammers

Avoid the Locksmith Scammers

24 hour locksmithIf you are in need of a locksmith, especially in an emergency situation, the whole experience can be alarming, overwhelming and even cause anxiety. A friend of mine recently found herself in that situation and unfortunately, her unlucky experience of being locked out her house – became even more disastrous when she was scammed by a phony locksmith company.

My friend had just returned from vacation and after a long day of traveling across the country, she was finally home.  When she tried to get into her front door, she realized she had lost her house keys. Whether they were in the taxi, the airplane or her hotel didn’t matter at this point as it was late and dark and being alone, she wanted to get inside her home!   Of course she had her cell phone with her so she searched for a locksmith and was happy to find a locksmith that offered 24 hour services at very reasonable prices. This locksmith claimed that the cost would be under $20.00 to get her into her home and they would also be able to make her a new key right on the spot!  (Sounds too good to be true – right?) But at that moment it was a great sense of relief to my friend and it sounded like a great deal to her, so she gave them her address.

Within a half hour, someone did show up at her home and they did get her into her house.  However, (and this is a big “however”) – they broke the entire knob and handle off of her door, which required a replacement that they could provide immediately.  The cost of course, was nowhere near $20.00 as promised, the entire service cost $300.00 and they demanded to be paid in cash!  Now I won’t go into the rest of the story – but the point is that my friend was scammed!  In this case the so called “locksmith” used what is known as a “Bait and Switch” technique.  In this shameful scam, locksmiths advertise unreasonably low prices to attract business and can charge as much as 400 to 500 percent more after completing their work!  In addition to the bait and switch tactic, the following are some other scam tactics that these phony locksmiths may use:

Cash Only Scam: Scammers pose as locksmiths, and, after “fixing” a customer’s lock, they claim they can only take cash payment due to a broken credit card machine or some other illegitimate excuse. This prevents the customer from disputing the charge later.

Identity Theft:  In this tactic, the customer usually receives decent service and pays the expected price but the criminal providing the service steals their private information to either sell or utilize for themselves.

New Handle or Door Knob Scam: The alleged locksmiths will claim that the only way to gain access to a customer’s home is by breaking the handle or wrenching it off. This requires the customer to buy one of the scammer’s overpriced replacements, but the customer doesn’t know this until after the damage is done.

As I review my friend’s story and some of the scams that are out there – I see that she was a victim of more than one type of scam. So what can you do to prevent this from happening to you?  According to the Better Business Bureau there are several things to be aware of when hiring a locksmith.  You should always lookout for warning signs like suspiciously low prices, a locksmith in an unmarked vehicle with no company uniform, cash-only policies, a collection of negative reviews online, or the demand for upfront payment. By taking just a few extra minutes to stop and evaluate your situation, you can stop from making a rash decision and prevent yourself from becoming the next locksmith scam victim.

For a reliable and trustworthy locksmith, you can count on One Stop Locksmith for all of your locksmith needs.  For experienced locksmith services call us any time at 718-548-0666 or 914-966-0666.   Or call 888-599-LOCK (5625) .




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