Let’s face it, accidents happen to us all. Whether it’s locking your keys somewhere you can’t get to them or a key breaking in half when you try to use it, it can be incredibly frustrating when locksmith emergencies crop up — doubly so because those issues tend to pop up at the worst possible moments. For most, the instinct is to call the first locksmith that pops up when you search “locksmith near me.” But, as some people have learned the hard way, that can just as often lead to a scam as it can provide quick, professional locksmith services.
An Update To Locksmith Scams
The locksmith industry is one of the most often scammed industries out there. If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll have noticed plenty of tips to keep yourself safe and avoid getting caught up in a scam. Things like looking for branded clothing and paperwork are typically a good sign that the company you called is an experienced, licensed locksmith. These details are more important than ever, as locksmith scammers are getting more high-tech as they perpetuate their scams.
According to recent experiences and an investigation in Springfield, MO, some citizens have learned this the hard way. According to the KY3 team’s investigation, scammers were posing as a local locksmith team, complete with a real-looking website. The scammer popped up with a realistic-looking site that advertised itself as “Pop-A-Lock,” a well-known locksmithing group.
When the supposed service technician arrived on site, the vehicle he drove was not branded in any way. However, he did show an invoice with an L.L.C. and a tax I.D. number. Then, he sprung an $80 charge for a simple, two-minute lock popping.
Catching On To Locksmith Scams
This is one of the most common means of scamming people in need of emergency locksmith services. The scammer will either quote a low-ball number over the phone, and then jack the price up after work is completed, or they will make up a story about the lock being “complex” in order to explain a higher charge. Something as simple as popping a car lock isn’t likely to need that level of complex service. Likewise, having locks rekeyed or replaced should come with clear, straightforward pricing.
So how do you protect yourself? As the KY3 investigative team showed, one of the key steps you should always do is ask for identification — and not just a driver’s license or business paperwork. Legitimate locksmith services will almost always have some kind of branding on their vehicle. After all, that is a great way to show legitimacy as well as serve as a moving billboard for their services. Also be on the lookout for shirts, hats, and other clothing items branded with the company’s logo. Of course, as those recent experiences have shown, simply looking for branded paperwork isn’t enough.
In addition to looking for branding, it’s of vital importance to ask to see credentials. Any legitimate, licensed locksmith will be able to show their licensing information, insurance documents, and other credentials upon request — and they won’t fight you about it. It’s a great way for locksmith companies to keep themselves safe as well as their clients. Legitimate locksmiths want you to trust us because we are handling security-related tasks for you. So, if someone shows up claiming to be a locksmith and refuses to show credentials, you are well within your rights to refuse to allow them to perform any sort of service for you.
Another good way to protect yourself? Seek out local locksmiths that are members of locksmithing associations like the Associated Locksmiths of America (A.L.O.A.) and other groups, which verify locksmith companies before they admit them as members. Many of the locksmith associations have online lists you can search by area, so you can be sure to find an experienced emergency locksmith, instead of a scam.
If you need a locksmith you can trust in Jersey City or across New Jersey, connect with Firstline Locksmith. We are licensed, bonded, and insured, and we offer residential and commercial locksmithing as well as emergency locksmith help for any home or business — including regulation compliant help for banks and other high-security entities. Connect with us any time for service.