When you’re locked out of your home or car, you need help fast. Unfortunately, the sense of urgency to get back into your home or vehicle can make you vulnerable to locksmith scams.
Lately, our team of residential locksmiths at Minneapolis Lock & Key has been hearing about more locksmith scams than usual, and we want to get the word out to protect our community. As a legitimate residential locksmithing company, we’re also affected by these sketchy scammers since many customers are suspicious of everyone. That’s why we’re sharing this post to help you recognize and avoid locksmith scams. Be sure to share this post, and give us a call when you need a professional residential locksmithing company you can trust.
When Bad Things Happen To Good People
Anyone can create an online listing or even a website that looks legitimate, and when you’re in a hurry, you rarely take the time to properly vet the services you need fast. By the time this shady “locksmith” arrives and quotes you an outrageous price, you end up paying far more than you would through legitimate lock rekey services.
These scammers, who are unqualified as locksmiths and lack any kind of professional training, will feign trouble with the lock hardware so they have an excuse to drill the lock. This gives them an excuse to quote a much higher rate, charging as much as ten times their original quote.
Faced with no other options and short on time, you pay up. Worse, these amateurs can end up breaking your lock or permanently damaging your door, and when you try to reach them for repairs or a refund, they’re gone.
Unfortunately, once you realize you’ve been scammed, there is no legal recourse if you can’t track down the original scammers. The best you can hope for is to report the listing and get it removed. And often, your friendly neighborhood scam artists will simply start fresh with a new number and move on to their next set of unsuspecting victims.
How Locksmith Scams Work
Put simply, a locksmith scam preys on the vulnerability of homeowners and car owners when they’re already having a difficult time. Unfortunately, these scams are one of the most common types of scams in the United States and can be found just about anywhere from big cities to the most affluent suburbs.
The locksmith scam takes advantage of our trust in professionals and our reliance on the Internet. In the Digital Age, it’s all too common for folks to seek services and information online, especially when they find themselves in an emergency. Since locksmith emergencies usually hit us when we’re not prepared, many customers are looking for the cheapest, fastest solution, so we’ll pick the first professional-looking ad we see.
Locksmith scam artists rely on misleading advertisements and suspiciously low-price quotes to lure in unsuspecting victims. Rather than just one legitimate residential locksmithing company, these scammers will use the same phone number tied to several fake listings across Google and social media.
Scammers also take advantage of paid advertisements that pop up while potential customers are searching for services. These ersatz locksmiths can seem legitimized when their ads and maps appear at the top of a Google search. In many cases, the addresses are not connected with a real business, and any testimonials or reviews are vague or grammatically incorrect.
Identifying A Locksmith Scam Artist
In a world where anyone can create a professional-looking website and social media presence, how can you tell who to trust? Watch for these red flags:
1. They Don’t Look Professional.
First impressions are important, and when it comes to your money, don’t be afraid to trust your instincts. If a locksmith shows up in an unmarked vehicle with no uniform, no nametag, and no business card, call someone else.
2. The Price Changes.
If a locksmith tries to charge you a significantly different price than what they initially advertised, be suspicious. They’ll typically come up with an excuse for this dramatic difference, telling you that your lock is too old, too new, or too high-tech for the original quote. A legitimate professional locksmithing company won’t be averse to giving you a written estimate.
3. Their Info Doesn’t Check Out.
Even if you’re in a hurry, it pays to take a moment and do your research. Try to click around on their website. Do they share plenty of information about the company? Are there images of their locksmiths in action or do they rely on stock photos? Look at their address as well. If the listed address is for a home, storage unit, or P.O. box, steer clear.
4. The Company Only Accepts Cash.
A trustworthy professional residential locksmithing company will accept more than one form of payment, whereas a scammer will often require cash. Or they may ask for Venmo, Cash App, or PayPal payments to a name other than the company name that was advertised online.
5. The “Locksmith” Looks Like An Amateur.
When a locksmith knows what he or she is doing, you can tell by their professional mannerisms, tools, and presence. But a phony locksmith, on the other hand, will fumble with their equipment and appear to be having trouble.
Call Our Twin Cities Residential Key Creation Services
Don’t take a chance getting stuck footing the bill for someone else’s shady locksmith scam. Instead, plan ahead by programming our number into your phone so you can call Minneapolis Lock & Key when you need us.
With a professional locksmithing company that’s been around for more than a century, you can trust our locksmiths for knowledgeable, trustworthy customer service. Call our expert key creation services at 612.823.8148 or contact us online to get in touch with an experienced locksmith right away.