Locksmith scams are a growing concern throughout the United States. And here in the Twin Cities, we are not immune from the threat of fraudulent companies trying to take advantage of people. Locksmith scams count on people being frustrated and stressed to the point of missing details, which allows them to swoop in, charge a lot of money, perform faulty work, and leave without a trace. It gives a bad name for reputable locksmith companies and makes for a headache for anyone caught in the scam since the work done will likely need to be fixed at some point. Here are the big red flags in spotting a locksmith scam:
1. No local phone number is listed. One of the first red flags for a potential locksmith scammer is their listed contact information. Many scammers will hijack yellow page and Google map listings to show up in search as a local locksmith. However, their listing will only show an “800” number and the address will actually be another business. If there is no local number to call, avoid calling as it is more likely to be a scam.
2. The conversation is vague. If you happen to get someone on the line, there is one clear red flag to let you know if they are legitimate: the call is answered with someone only saying they are a locksmith without mentioning an actual company name. As the conversation moves forward and you cannot get a company name or confirmed physical location, hang up.
3. Uniforms are unmarked or unclear. One of the ways you can spot a locksmith scam is through the lack of proper signage or credentials. They may show up wearring a generic shirt or set of overalls with no company logo or name tag.
4. The technician will try to do more than pick the lock. At this point in a typical locksmith scam, you are likely dealing with an untrained technician. They will make excuses, blame you or the lock, and attempt to drill the lock instead of simply pick it. Do not let them do this, if at all possible!
5. The fee is much more than the quote. At this point, there are a couple of things to watch out for in a locksmith scam. To start, you will be quoted with a price that will likely sound too good to be true, which it is. From there, your scammer will make up reasons that on the surface sound legitimate, but are not upon further consideration. By the time they are done, a locksmith scammer could be asking for hundreds of more dollars than you were quoted.
6. There will be no paper trail. A locksmith scam will make all efforts to avoid a paper trail. They will demand payment in cash first, sometimes taking debit card payments, though that is more unlikely. The scammer will not accept credit cards or checks. Additionally, it will be very unlikely that they will agree to provide a receipt.
To avoid getting caught in the middle of a locksmith scam, the best course of action is to have your local, reputable locksmith company picked out before you ever need them. At Minneapolis Lock & Key, we are here to serve our customers, providing exceptional locksmith services for over 100 years. You can count on us! Give us a call today to learn how we can help you.