Scams of the Locksmith World – How to Avoid Them

To the people locked out of their cars and homes, emergency locksmiths offer a priceless service. Their ability to either pick the lock or make new keys enables them to help people in emergencies and time-sensitive situations.

It’s because of these reasons that emergency locksmiths have become so popular in recent years. In fact, if numbers posted by the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA) are to be believed then nearly 250,000 Americans call for emergency locksmiths daily!

Due to the sheer number of emergency calls that people make to locksmiths every day, many con artists have entered the industry. Although most locksmiths are genuine, and offer reliable and authentic services, these professional conmen are destroying the industry’s reputation as countless people in emergencies have been scammed which paints the profession in a very unfavorable light!

We at New York Locksmiths Network want to put an end to these scams which is why we’ve compiled a short list of tricks used by these con artists. By reading the following guide, we believe people can easily spot a phony locksmith service and protect themselves from all locksmith scams.

1. Three Common Locksmith Scams:

Before we discuss how locksmith scams can be avoided, we must analyze how these conmen operate. Here are three most common ways you can be on the receiving end of locksmith scam.

1. False Advertising:

By far, the most common problem that plagues the industry today is false advertising. Given the fact nearly 3.2 billion people in the world have access to the internet these days, these con artists create the most eye-catching and click-bait headlines possible. This helps them attract naive internet users who are more susceptible to being scammed.

‘Emergency locksmiths’ advertise their services for a fraction of the price they intend to charge. Scam Detector recently reported that these crooks advertise their emergency locksmith service for as low as $25. As this is much cheaper than any other genuine locksmith service on offer, people who like to cut corners usually end up opting for their services.

However, once they reach your house or car, they assess the situation and say something along the lines of ‘the problem is much more complicated than we expected’. Although they’re able to deal with this “complicated” problem relatively easily, at the time of billing, they quote about $500 for their services!

Despite previously advertising their services for $25, they charge a king’s ransom for their emergency locksmith services simply because they deemed your emergency as “too complicated”. Many people have outright refused to pay for such extortionate rates (as they’re entitled to) which these crooks often counter by threatening to call the cops.

This forces the hands of many people who are already pressed hard for time. They reluctantly end up paying over the odds for a small service that should not have cost them more than $125 if it was performed by a reliable locksmith!

2. Drilling Locks:

Another surprisingly common locksmith problem is the sheer number of fake locksmiths advertising their services as genuine. When these fakers are called to pick a lock, they claim that the lock can’t be picked and needs to be destroyed.

Using a high-powered drill machine, these fake locksmiths drill the locks of your car and home to get the job done. What makes matters worse is that they have the gall to charge you extra for using the drill machine to ruin your door and lock!

This is highly undesirable especially considering the fact that durable locks tend to cost a fair amount of money. Furthermore, by drilling your locks, these crooks wreck the aesthetics of the door and make it an eyesore.

3. Shell Companies:

The final problem that’s ridiculously common these days is the number of shell companies operating in the locksmith industry. For those of you who don’t know, a shell company is an organization that operates out of no building and has no employees on its payroll. It exists only on paper and for the sole reason of pulling of tax gambits and scams.

Locksmiths aren’t immune to the problem of shell companies with thousands of fake locksmiths representing organizations that don’t physically exist. When you call their hotline, you are connected to a call center, where a very persuasive person will exaggerate their services just to confirm the sale.

Often these salespeople will intentionally offer you a low rate to get you to opt for their services. However, once they open the lock, they’ll charge people hundreds and thousands of dollars!

2. How to Avoid these Scams:

Now that we know the most common ways how these fake locksmiths can cause you grief, countering their efforts to do so will be much easier. Here’s a few simple ways you can avoid these locksmith scams.

1. Ask for a Cost Estimate:

As discussed above, fake locksmiths usually advertise their services for as low as $25 and then bait-and-switch their naive customers by charging hundreds of dollars for ‘labor’. We believe that the most effective way to counter this problem is to ask for cost estimate.

Be very thorough and inquire after additional charges like labor, and service call minimums as well. This will give you a better idea of how much your malfunctioned lock will set you back. On the other hand, if your emergency locksmith refuses to give you a cost estimate, treat this as a red flag and don’t opt for their services!

2. Don’t Allow Drilling:

By far, the worst thing a fake locksmith can do to you is drill your locks. What makes matter worse is the fact that after drilling a lock, they charge high fees for their services.

People hire locksmiths for their expertise and because they don’t want to pay for the installation of new locks. In other words, destroying a lock defeats the purpose of hiring a locksmith in the first place! So, if your locksmith proposes to drill the lock, don’t hire them!

3. Trust in Local Services

The easiest way to avoid locksmith scams is to search for reliable locksmiths in advance. We believe that a proactive approach pays dividends in the long run and can help you save thousands of dollars.

If you’re looking for locksmiths online, be sure to double check their address via Google Maps. Furthermore, if you call a locksmith’s hotline and they answer with a generic statement like “locksmith services”, opt out of their services. We say this because all authentic locksmiths answer calls with the company name and motto.

Furthermore, you can make things much easier for yourself by researching about your local locksmith services. Perhaps there’s a locksmith right around the corner or a serviceman your neighbors speak highly of? Read through their customer reviews and testimonials to better gauge what sort of service to expect from them.

We believe that by taking your time with your research, you can avoid all locksmith scams as sound research will save you money by leading you to reliable sources.

If you’re looking for reliable locksmith services, we at New York Locksmith would love to help. With years of experience under our belt, we specialize in commercial, residential, and industrial buildings. Furthermore, we also offer economical 24-hour emergency locksmith in Queens and Brooklyn, NY.

We are licensed and bonded, and won’t charge you a dime over the standard billing rate! Contact us today and see the difference in quality for yourself!

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