What you need to know about locksmith scams
An individual realised she got locked out of her house after coming home from work on a weekday. She forgot to check her belongings when she moved her stuff to another bag. She panicked and searched the internet for the nearest available locksmith.
The first 24-hour locksmith service that popped up on google looks pretty cut-rate (or so she thought). After waiting for an eternity, the locksmith arrived in a private sedan (read: unmarked). The locksmith suggested drilling the door to replace the lock. Maria couldn’t argue. All she wanted was to go inside her house and rest. To her horror and dismay, the bill amounted to four times more than the advertised rate. She felt ripped off. Now she fears for her safety.
The story gives a detailed account of the modus operandi of a locksmith scammer. The proliferation of con artists on the internet is a cause for concern. Australians should be alerted of potential scammers and know how to avoid them. In this article, we discuss ways you can identify and avoid locksmith scams.
Here are some red flags that indicate a possible scam when looking for locksmith services.
1. Ridiculously low call-out rates
The typical locksmith scammer posts advertisements on the internet with low call-out rates to attract the attention of potential victims. Who would not fall for a $15 service fee? It is a cheap marketing ploy to lure victims into the game. But as soon as work commences, they charge exorbitant fees without the benefit of an official receipt. Now, we aren’t saying that you can’t find an affordable locksmith online because the definitely exist but be mindful that any reputable locksmith business will likely give an onsite quotation before doing the job rather than just coming out first and then charging.
2. Fake website
Scammers will not have a registered company name, or if they do, it may not be related to locksmith services. They may fake website has stock photos of a locksmiths in action. However, because scammers have no physical store, the phone number listed on the website more than likely is an offshore number of a call centre. The person on the other line gives vague answers to your queries.
A sure-fire way to check if the locksmith business is phony or not is to look for the security licence number prominently displayed on their website. Members of the Master Locksmith Association of Australia are required to place their licence number and affiliations on the website. The association can verify the details.
3. Unprofessional and operating without a licence
A locksmith scammer may appear at your door not wearing a proper uniform. There is no company name or logo on his car, either. In Australia, the law requires legitimate locksmith businesses to be security-licenced and if in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask the locksmith for his credentials. That way, you can be certain that they are licenced and qualified to perform locksmith services.
4. Sloppy work
A locksmith scammer may appear to be incapable of doing the job well. He will insist on drilling your door and replacing the lock with a new one. It is an opportunity to charge a higher fee. A legitimate locksmith can pick any lock with ample equipment and tools in his arsenal.
You have an idea about the scammers’ modus operandi by now. If you are in the same situation as the individual in our story, how can you avoid locksmith scams?
1. Keep a list of legitimate locksmiths in your locality
You don’t have to wait for the inevitable to happen. You may browse for listings of legitimate locksmiths and keep their phone numbers. Who knows when you will need them?
2. Ask for referrals from family and friends
Your friends and colleagues may know a reliable locksmith in town. Ask if they have had a good experience or were satisfied with the locksmith’s work. Then, ask for that lock specialist’s contacts.
3. Check the website and verify contact numbers
Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate a real Mccoy from a fake one. Scammers with evil intentions will employ all kinds of tricks of the trade. They are willing to pay for costly ads to lure unsuspecting customers.
How do you know if a locksmith is legitimate? As mentioned earlier, professional locksmiths must be security-licenced. The licence number should be on the website. Call the telephone number listed on the website. If your call is redirected to a call centre, you know it is a potential scam.
4. Keep separate sets of keys
You will never know when an emergency strikes. Therefore, keeping separate sets of keys outside the house is prudent. Also, keep your keys in a safe place.
5. Hire a locksmith from a reputable association
You can simply call a master locksmith from the reputable Ambassador Locksmiths in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie. Alternatively, you may check out the official website of The Master Locksmith Association of Australasia.
6. Ask for credentials
Make a habit of asking for the credentials of any service personnel working in your home. All legitimate locksmiths in Australia are Master Locksmith Association Australia approved. It is proper to ask for identification cards. After all, scammers may plan to sell your keys to criminals, or they may come back to steal at some other time. It is always advisable to up your antennae and do not give them the benefit of the doubt. Check everything about their identity.
The skilled locksmiths at Ambassador Locksmiths in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie are licenced and available 24/7 to assist you if you get locked out of your car or house. Call us on 0407 452 424 or (02) 4942 2202 anytime. You may also send your enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. We know that emergencies do not only occur during day time.