The need for a locksmith can be an unwelcome and/or irritating situation. From locking yourself out of your car, losing the keys to your office building, or simply changing the locks to your new home, the moments that it takes to call a locksmith can be stressful enough as it is, and can be done in a time of panic, worry, or stress.
But when that time arises, there are some people who will try to scam your hard earned money at a when you’re most vulnerable and perhaps don’t have the best knowledge of what is going on.
Here are a few tips to avoid being scammed by a faux locksmith:
1. Find a locksmith ahead of time. The BBB and other reliable sources like Yelp and Facebook reviews can assure you that you have a real company to call if you find yourself in trouble. Just save the contact in your phone and you’ll have the info available immediately.
Avoid companies that don’t answer the phone with a specific business name. If someone just says the phrase “locksmith services” or something to that affect but won’t give an actual company name, chances are they’re not legitimate.
2. Ask for ID and written proof of a company with a name, address, and other items like website, telephone number, and even a company email. Also be aware of what the person arrives in. Most companies have a van or vehicle with the company name and logo displayed on it.
3. If it isn’t an immediate matter, get an estimate on legitimate company letterhead paper or from a company email. An email that is @gmail, @yahoo, @aol etc. is a big red flag. This estimate should include not just the lock cost, but also mileage and other additional charges that may be included in the final cost.
4. While PA doesn’t, there are 14 states that require locksmiths to be licensed. Those states are: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Maryland hasn’t yet implemented it yet, although they have now adopted this law. So if you are in one of these states, ask for that too.
5. If they say the lock needs to be drilled, especially if they have given little to no effort to open the lock prior, go with someone else. Not only does a professional locksmith know how to open almost any lock, but drilling is much more expensive and damaging to the surrounding frame of the lock.
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