Locksmiths are professionals who tend to only be called in an emergency. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people out there who know this and prey on people’s vulnerability by operating locksmith scams. But if you follow our list of tips, you can ensure you don’t become a victim of one.
When many people are looking for a locksmith, they are stressed because they have, for example, locked themselves out of their house or need a lock fixing quickly. As a result, when you are looking for a locksmith, especially online, speed is often a primary factor, and some of the usual critical functions can be missed.
Sadly, this can mean that people can end up victims of scam locksmiths. There are a variety of tactics used by scammers. For instance, people click on an ad that appears on a search engine, which links to a site that looks legitimate, but is in fact a rogue operation. Others include operations that take the name of a legitimate locksmith, but are in fact scammers.
Here are our tips to avoid being caught out by a scam and ensure that you engage a professional locksmith:
Too good to be true
Most people search for locksmith companies on Google these days and adverts can pop up for locksmiths that offer very low prices. This should be a red flag. The old adage that if something looks too good to be true, it is stands up. A super-low price can be advertised to hook customers in, but once the locksmith arrives, the price of the job can quickly escalate.
It’s a good idea to take a good look at the company’s website. Is it easy to find contact numbers and addresses for the locksmith? If not, it could be a scam. It also means it could be difficult to get in contact with them again if you have a complaint about any work done.
Likewise, it is worth checking the address with a Google search – if several companies are registered to that address, it is a good indication that it is a scammer or it isn’t local to you.
Beware of reviews
Also be careful when looking at reviews and testimonials on a company website. Some people game reviews to show false positives – if they are all five stars, that’s a warning sign, as there should be a mix. Also look for the content of reviews; if they are short and vague its more likely to be made up – details should always be looked for.
How a locksmith looks and sounds can be important. For instance, when they answer the phone, if they say something like ‘locksmith’ rather than the company name and a more formal greeting, that is a warning sign. Some scammers also use numbers than go to overseas call centres.
Likewise, when the locksmith turns up at your home or place of work, do they arrive in a liveried van with the company name on? Do they wear a branded uniform? Those who work for/own legitimate locksmith companies will have their own brand identity.
Also, when the locksmith arrives, insist on seeing some form of ID before letting them in. If your locksmith is reputable, they will happily show you their ID on request.
Signs of inexperience
Professional locksmiths are trained in their craft and will not be phased by any lock or key they are presented with. So if the locksmith you have called upon is fumbling with a seemingly straightforward job and doesn’t appear to know what they are doing, it is probably because they don’t! This means they could end up doing a poor job or even cause more harm than good.
Making the job more complex
As mentioned earlier, some locksmith prices seem too good to be true – and they are, because once started on a job that is seemingly straightforward, it will suddenly get more complex – and therefore, more expensive.
For instance, in a simple case of being locked out of your property, then a genuine locksmith should take just minutes to pick and unlock the door. Locksmiths carry with them tools – not available to the public – then enable them to unlock almost any type of domestic or commercial lock. However, if the locksmith quickly says that drilling the lock is the fastest way to get in – stop them. Drilling a lock should only be a last resort, as it destroys the lock, meaning it needs to be replaced, which is a much more expensive job.
Another common trick by scammers to ramp up a bill is to say that a lock needs replacing when it is perfectly fine. While being more expensive is bad enough, it can leave your home less secure, as the scam locksmith might use a lower grade (i.e. cheaper) of lock as a replacement.
If you do not want them to carry out a more extensive job – stop them and get a second opinion. Don’t feel pressurised into having work done that you don’t want.
Likewise, if you are not happy with the job a locksmith has done, don’t feel pressurised into paying there and then. It is also worth noting that scam locksmiths will tend to want to be paid in cash – as there is less of an audit trail than by paying by card.
Call Inta-lock Locksmiths
However, it should be noted that the vast majority of locksmiths around the country are legitimate operations and will do a professional job when called upon. It’s just a shame that there a minority out there who seek to scam people and tarnish the good name of all locksmiths.
Of course, one way of avoiding falling prey to scammers is to call Inta-lock Locksmiths in Peterborough. All of our technicians are experienced and have been fully DBS checked, and operate in smart Inta-lock liveried vans.
If you need the services of a locksmith, call one of our friendly team for a no obligation quote. Inta-lock Locksmiths have some of the most competitive prices in Peterborough and the surrounding area.