Many consumers think they're doing the right thing by searching online for a local locksmiths. However, what they may not realize is that locksmith scammers are controlling online directories by imitating legitimate local locksmiths.
In many cases, these locksmiths don’t operate local shops, and are run by call centers. Scammers have a tendency to quote a low price, but end up charging customers three times the quoted price. To avoid hiring one of these scammers, take the time to research the company first. Here are some tips to ensure you find a reputable locksmith.
1. Be Prepared
Research a locksmith BEFORE you need one and store the contact information in your phone. Unlike Google, Fresh Chalk locksmith pros are recommended by people in your community, so you know they are trustworthy!
2. Before You Call
Look for a reputable business name. A name such as “24 Hour Locksmith” or “AAA Locksmith” are probably not legitimate businesses. Look for local, neighborhood names you recognize or a family name. Check their website. Most scammers use 1-877, 1-800 or out-of-state prefixes.
3. When You Call
Pay attention to how they answer the call. Do they answer the call with generic “locksmith services?” Ask them the name of their business and make sure it matches where you think you called. Ask for a flat rate or quote range. Ask if they will have to drill the lock. It is extremely rare that a lock will have to be drilled. Be very wary of anyone indicating they may have to drill your lock.
4. When They Arrive
Ensure they are in a clearly marked business vehicle. Most scammers work out of their personal cars. Ask for identification and ensure the name on their card matches the company name and the name on the work vehicle. Also ask to see an invoice form before they start. Scammers often use blank forms or forms of other companies. Again, check the company on the invoice matches the company you called.
5. Support Your Local Locksmith
There are reputable, skilled locksmiths in the community. Unfortunately, the scammers have damaged the industry reputation. No legitimate locksmith is going to be able to unlock your car or your home for $19.95.
For more tips on how to spot a locksmith scammer, check out the Fresh Chalk Blog.