As scary as it may sound, locksmith scams are becoming a part of our daily lives. Locksmiths target home and car owners when they are most vulnerable and in need of urgent assistance – in an emergency and when they need immediate help.
Victim of fake or fraudulent
Most of the time we think that finding a locksmith online is probably a wise decision. However, we might fall victim to fake or fraudulent locksmiths impersonating Schlüsseldienst Balingen legitimate locksmiths in the online directories. The case is that these fake locksmiths imitate the local locksmiths and don't even have a local workshop. Sometimes these so-called locksmiths are not even properly trained and are operated by out-of-state call centers.
A few cautious steps you take can help avoid a fraudulent company or an untrained impersonator.
1. “Local” is the keyword
Do your research in advance. Take your time and don't rush your search.
If a locksmith shop is registered with a local address, google the address and see if another business is registered with the same address.
Even if you find yourself in an emergency, you should always pay attention to the services that answer the phone with a generic phrase like “Welcome to locksmith.” If whoever you called isn't willing to give you a legal business name, you'll need to find another locksmith.
Also, check if the companies use an “800” number or a local number. The “800” number may indicate that the locksmith you are calling could be an offshore call center.
2. Check identification and license
When the locksmith arrives at the destination, it is important to ask for ID, including a locksmith's license if you have one.
Out of all the states, only fifteen of them require a locksmith license, making them criminal work or even advertised as a locksmith without valid credentials. Check if your state is one of the 15 states on Google.
3. Beware of low prices
Always get a quote over the phone before allowing a technician to meet you. Be skeptical of any locksmith that offers incredibly low prices. These are important red flags. Always ask about labor costs, emergency costs, and service fees.
Never allow anyone to start work on the home or vehicle without realizing the costs you may incur.
4. There had better be no hidden fees
It's important to inquire about any additional charges, especially in emergencies.
A fraudulent company could also claim that the lock on your home or vehicle is out of date and needs to be replaced. They will charge you an arm and a leg to replace the existing lock with what they say is a high security lock, but that is rarely the case. You could end up paying them to replace the existing good lock with a cheaper one at a higher price.
5. Ask for vehicle identification
Always keep an eye on your surroundings. If someone arrives in an unmarked vehicle and claims they are at a specific locksmith company, definitely do not allow them to start work. Legitimate locksmith companies always send their technicians in a marked vehicle with company logos, phone numbers, and branded tools. This is a call for awareness.
6. Request a written estimate
Always ask for a written estimate. This protects you from hidden fees and additional labor costs. If a locksmith is reluctant to give you a signed written estimate, don't let them get to work. This may mean that they are not serious and just want to make a quick buck.
7. The on-site estimate should match the written estimate
Any reputable locksmith will provide you with a detailed quote during the phone call. This includes travel expenses, labor costs and the necessary parts. This cost estimate is supplemented with the cost estimate on site. Locksmiths who want to scam you change their estimate upon arrival, adding additional hidden fees even before work begins. Be safe from such dishonest service providers.
8. Say no to drilling and swapping
Any locksmith that suggests the lock needs to be drilled or replaced is a scam. Experienced locksmiths can unlock almost any door. If you want to drill the lock, say a resounding “no”. There is a high possibility that they are scamming you and looking for more money. All real locksmith companies train their technicians to properly unlock each door.
9. Avoid cash transactions
All genuine locksmiths will give you the option of paying by cash, check and/or credit. Any company that insists on cash only transactions is looking for a quick Schlüsseldienst Balingen buck, and there is a 99.99 percent chance it is a scam. This is also an important question to ask beforehand. Make sure you are clear on how they will take payment BEFORE they start work.
10. Do not leave the locksmith unattended while working
I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't trust the person who arrived to help you, but it's important to keep an eye on what they're doing. Your diligence can prevent you from being scammed in more ways than you can imagine.
If you feel that you have been overcharged or scammed by a locksmith, you should contact the Attorney General's Office immediately. If you're lucky, the AG office can hire an employee to act as an intermediary between the customers and the companies, and you could get your money back. Be careful and stay safe.