There is nothing worse than getting locked out of your home or car …except, perhaps, getting scammed by the locksmith who was supposed to be there to help you. When you need help quickly, it is easy to become frustrated and impatient with the process of searching for a local locksmith. But, you are giving that person access to your home, car or business, so it is essential that you are vigilant in finding someone legitimate. One of the easiest ways to avoid a locksmith scam is to take the time to find a local, reliable licensed locksmith before you need one in an emergency. However, since this isn’t always possible, the following tips will help you avoid locksmith scams.
Avoid 800 Numbers
When you are ready to make the call to a locksmith, pay careful attention to the phone number they are using. A local locksmith should generally be using a number with a local area code. If they are using an out-of-state number or an 800 number, it is probably a call center and could end up being a locksmith scam. Many scammers pose as local locksmiths, but they actually operate several “local” shops in different states that they run through one call center location. How it works is the scammers build an expensive website, one that will place them at the top of the listings, a consumer contacts them and the call center representative forwards the caller to someone in the area. The locksmiths who are in this database have paid fees to be placed on the list.
Check Out the Company Name
If you are searching online and the name of the company is somewhat broad, such as “Virginia Locksmiths” or “The Best VA Locksmiths,” it should be considered a red flag. When you call a legitimate business, the person on the other end of the line typically says their name and the name of the company. So, if the person says “locksmith services” or “hello, locksmith” when they answer the phone, it is most likely a call center. When you contact the business, only continue the conversation if the person states their name and the company name.
Before you hire a locksmith, there are several questions you can ask that will help to verify if the company is legitimate. If the business cannot provide detailed answers to your questions, do not hire them. Some questions to ask may include:
- Where is your business located?
- What methods will you use to get in the building? Will you have to drill the lock? Can you tell me exactly what the process will be?
- Can you give me an estimate? Are there any factors that may cause this price to increase?
- What is the name of the person that will be meeting me?
- Can I pay with a credit card or check? Or is it cash only?
Pay close attention to their answers. If they only accept cash, can't (or won't) tell you where the business is located, don't know the name of the person they'll send out, or can't explain the process, it is typically not a legitimate company.
As soon as the locksmith arrives, do not allow them to do any work until you see their identification and their locksmith license. Virginia is one of 15 states that requires locksmith licensing, so be skeptical of locksmiths who claim they are not required to be licensed. To verify that they are unlocking a car or home that belongs to you, as soon as the locksmith arrives, they should ask for your identification as well. Use caution if they show up in an unmarked vehicle or if the name on the vehicle is different than the company you hired.
Whether you need new keys made, have gotten locked out of your home, car or business, we can help. Don’t risk being scammed, contact Area Safe & Lock Service! We are a local and licensed locksmith that you can trust.