Although all locksmiths should be trustworthy, many locksmith scam artists offer their illegitimate services to people who find themselves locked out of their cars or homes. The Better Business Bureau calls this current problem a “nationwide locksmith swindle.” Over one thousand people have alerted the BBB to the problem; and thousands more have unknowingly been taken advantage of, according to BBB’s Alison Preszler.
A locksmith scam attempts to take advantage of people feeling especially vulnerable when the customers discover that they are locked out of their valuable possessions. The crooks are counting on the customer being so distracted by his situation that he is willing to pay whatever necessary to regain access.
The two companies that appear responsible for the majority of these nationwide scams are Dependable Locksmith (based out of New York) and Basad Inc. (based out of Englewood, CO.). They continually change their names, sometimes stealing the names of other locksmith companies that are known for being licensed and trustworthy.
Be aware that locksmith scam companies will use national telephone numbers and addresses of other businesses. Their locksmiths are not licensed, and they will either not give their company name or will only verbally use the name of another company, such as A-1 Locksmith.
Common tactics of these locksmith scam companies are trying to intimidate the customer, charging up to four times more than they originally quoted, insisting on payment before performing the job, operating out of unmarked vehicles, and insisting on cash payments.
Ways to Avoid a Locksmith Scam
- Find a dependable locksmith before you need one.
- Do not go with a locksmith company that cannot verify their legal name.
- Verify the legitimacy of the locksmith locations and ensure that they have a local (not national) phone number.
- Go to the BBB’s website to verify your locksmith’s viability.
- Because these locksmith scam artists are not licensed, always ask to see the locksmith’s license.
- Refuse to deal with anyone that shows up that you do not feel you can trust.
- Never pay before the work is completed.
- Try to use your credit card to protect yourself against possible fraud.
- If you suspect any scam activity, file complaints with Better Business Bureau and your state’s consumer protection or Attorney General’s office.
- Learn what other things to look for by reading other articles on locksmith scams.