New Locks for a New Home

5 Tips To Avoid Locksmith Scams

by Alfredo Griffin

When you're locked out of your house or car, this is a very stressful time. You're so stressed, you're prone to being pressured by a locksmith. You may even fall for a scam. It can be hard to spot these scams, especially because locksmiths in some jurisdictions are not required to be certified or licensed. Here are some tips to help you avoid a locksmith scam:

1. Look for branding.

A reputable locksmith company, such as Key West Locksmiths Ltd, will have a unique name and brand. When searching through the phone book or online for a locksmith, steer clear of generic company names. Another red flag is a locksmith who shows up in an unmarked vehicle. A credible company will typically have a logo or the company name on their vehicle along with a phone number.

2. Search for the company online.

Check the locksmith company's reputation online. Look for reviews, and check websites that rate companies. A legitimate company will have a presence online with customer reviews and a social media account or website. Lack of reviews and lack of any information on websites that rank company reputation is a huge red flag.

3. Steer clear of deep discounts.

Some locksmith companies advertise services for less than $50. While this may not always indicate a scam, it's a sign of possible bait and switch tactics to come. The company states they may only charge $20, then after unlocking your door, they state the cost is now $150 or more. You feel pressured to pay this higher quote since they already provided the service. Be wary of deals that are much lower than other locksmith companies' prices.

4. Ask if the company accepts credit cards.

A reputable business will always accept credit cards. A typical locksmith scammer will only accept cash. This is because if you are scammed and you use a credit card, you can do a charge back on your card. Your credit card company will also flag the illegitimate company for fraud and can refuse the transaction. If you pay with cash, you have no protection.

5. Check the locksmith's reaction.

While a reputable locksmith will not be required to have a certificate or license, he or she will not be offended if you ask for one. He or she will also not try to pressure you to continue with the service if you aren't comfortable using an unlicensed locksmith. Also, a legitimate locksmith will ask you for some kind of proof that you own or lease your car or home. If the locksmith asks no questions, this is a huge red flag. 

These are five tips to help you avoid locksmith scams.