What does it take to be a locksmith?
Locksmiths, like electricians or plumbers, are specialized well versed in their craft. They can open any door without having to damage or replace it because they have been so well trained. The fact that a locksmith makes it looks so easy is part of what makes the service seem overly expensive for what it is. But don’t be fooled. There is so much skill and savoir-faire that comes with the profession such as having an extensive knowledge of the 35,000 different types of keyholes manufactured!
It’s easy to think that a locksmith’s job can be performed by the layperson. We see it on T.V. all the time: the kid who picks an old lock and lets himself into a secret room. The truth is that there a whole lot more to it than simply rattling a paperclip in a keyhole and hoping it opens. This is where scammers take advantage of the oversimplifying stereotype.
Fake Business Scam
In this type of scam, the con artist will pose as a locksmith with a very low rate. Often times, the pages of their illegitimate businesses populate the top searches on Google and can seem to be trustworthy. Once you call them, they will give you a quote that will seem too good to be true. Usually, that is because it is. The scammers will show up and fix your lock by taking it apart and replacing it with a low quality or fake one and charge you fees for travel, the lock, and the call back once you realize your lock doesn’t actually work like you thought it would.
This scam starts very similarly to the fake business scam. The scammers are competitive and professional. They will come and fix your lock without raising any doubt or suspicion in your mind, but in reality, as they work, they are scoping out the premises and marking homes with fake promotional stickers. These stickers are really just signals for their crew so that they know which homes to hit for burglaries.
How to avoid these scams
The best way to avoid these scams is to conduct thorough research on locksmiths in your area before you need a locksmith. Familiarize yourself with the average going rate of a typical service so you know what might be a scam. In the heat of the moment, when all you want is to get inside your car or home, it can be a great deal harder to sift through your options and avoid scammers.
Read more on how to avoid common locksmith scams.
If you do find yourself in a locked-out situation, make sure you know the warning signs of a fake business. These are usually top Google searches with no substantial reviews and incredibly attractive prices. Keep an eye on the locksmith and watch for any signals (such as the stickers) they may innocuously paste on your door or window.