Sometimes it can seem like there’s always someone trying to get a shortcut to your cash. From Nigerian prince emails to Craigslist scams, the modern age is a virtual minefield of scams. Even in our beautiful Twin Cities, folks are everywhere that want to take advantage of others.
One scam we’re hearing about at Minneapolis Lock and Key is the locksmith scam. This scam is one of the worst kind because it hits people when they’re most vulnerable and takes advantage of their moment of need. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the red flags you can look for to identify and avoid getting taken in by locksmith scams.
What is a Locksmith Scam?
Locksmith scams are one of many scams that are on the rise today in the United States. Like all good scams, the locksmith scam is based on the details you overlook that add up to red flags. This allows the scammer to move in and charge a high amount of money for often shoddy work.
One of the biggest problems with locksmith scammers is that it gives a bad image to everyone who does locksmithing, even more reputable companies. It also creates a real headache for those who get taken in by the scam because the shoddy work they’ve done will eventually need to be repaired.
Here are a few red flags to look out for so you can avoid the bad guys and stick to high-quality locksmithing professionals:
1. No Clear Company Name
With most locksmith scammers, any conversation you have is vague when it comes to mentioning the company they’re affiliated with. If you talk to someone by phone, in most cases, they will say they’re a locksmith but won’t mention a company name. Try to get clarification about the business name and confirm their physical location. If they’re not willing to give this information, it’s time to move on and hire someone else.
2. Missing Phone Number or Address
If there’s no clearly listed phone number or contact information, chances are pretty solid you’re not talking to a legitimate residential or commercial locksmith professional. Scammers are fond of hijacking Google listings so they’ll show up as a locksmith in a search.
But they usually only show up as a toll-free number and the listed address is typically for another business. If you can’t easily locate a local number, find someone locally with verifiable information to use instead.
3. No Uniforms or Company Vehicles
A professional locksmithing company will most likely have signage that represents the company they work for. They’ll also have uniforms and other signifiers that they’re professionals.
When the locksmith you hire online or by phone shows up wearing a generic tee or their personal attire, it’s not usually a good sign. If you, the customer, requests it, our locksmiths can wear their official photo ID badges.
4. Lack of Professionalism
Once a locksmithing scam is in motion, you’re likely to find yourself face-to-face with an untrained technician. You’ll immediately notice a lack of professionalism with their service. An inexperienced tech will often make excuses for their inability to get the job done in a timely manner.
They also might blame the lock or even you for causing damage to it. However, don’t get this confused with a professional who must drill a lock. Drilling isn’t always a bad thing, so it’s not a sign of an unprofessional locksmith. Drilling is oftentimes the last line of defense for a pesky lock.
5. Higher Fee Than Quoted
A qualified professional will quote you a fair but competitive rate ahead of time and stick to it once service has been rendered. In every profession from photography to contracting, rates that dip well below the industry standard are almost always a red flag.
When a locksmith starts out by quoting a rate that sounds just a little too good to be true, it probably is. Worse yet, these dirty dealers often operate with a bait-and-switch strategy. Once they’ve completed the work, you’re often left footing a bill much higher than what was originally quoted.
Twin Cities Residential and Commercial Locksmithing Services
If you’re in need of locksmithing services but you don’t want to risk getting scammed, stick to a reliable locksmithing company that you know is reputable ahead of time. It’s a good idea to keep the number of a good locksmith on hand or in your phone’s emergency contacts so you don’t run the risk of getting caught up by scammers when you need one.
At Minneapolis Lock and Key, we’ve been providing professional locksmithing services for more than a century. Connect with a member of our team by calling us at 612.823.8148, or contact us to find out about our locksmithing services.