How to avoid a locksmith scam

December 1, 2014

Being locked out of your house is a terrible feeling. What’s even worse is being ripped off by a shady locksmith taking advantage of your situation.

How to avoid a locksmith scam

When you’re locked out of your house, you’re desperate to get back in. That’s why it’s easy to become a victim of bogus or dishonest locksmiths. It’s good to know what you can do to help avoid a locksmith scam.

Ask for recommendations if you can

As is the case with any kind of service, it’s a smart idea to ask friends, family members and colleagues for recommendations of companies or people they've used with positive results. Maybe your colleague has recently been locked out of her house and had a positive experience with a locksmith. When it comes to locksmiths, recommendations can go a long way.

How do I get recommendations in an emergency situation?

You may be wondering to yourself, "if I’m locked out of my house, how am I supposed to start asking people for recommendations?" Well, if you have a smartphone on you and you can access a social network, why not post a message to your circle? You never know who may answer quickly with valuable information.

Even if you can’t get a referral, there are still other things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of a locksmith scam.

Do your homework

If you have access to the Internet, search for local locksmith companies with proper websites. If the company you’re thinking of going with doesn't have a credible looking website, that’s not a good sign. Another thing you can do is see if you can find reviews of the locksmith in question. This is not a guarantee, because some reviews cannot be trusted, but at least if you find bad reviews, you will know to stay away.

Ask for a price over the phone first

Beware of prices that are too high, and ones that are too low. What is too low? If they say it will be less than $20, that is not realistic or reasonable. You will likely end up paying at least 10 to 20 times that price. On the other hand, if they say it will be $2,000, that is way too high.

Use your common sense

When the locksmith arrives, take a good look at the vehicle and make a note of the license plate number. If they say “cash only,” that’s not a good sign. In case there are any issues, you want the process to be as trackable and “by the books” as possible.

Locksmith scams are one of the fastest-growing, most widespread scams around. But with the right knowledge, you can avoid being the victim of one. Most importantly, make as informed a decision as possible and don't panic.

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