We all have locks in our homes, offices, or vehicles, and we rely on them to keep us and our belongings safe. But what happens when we misplace our keys and can’t access our property when we want or need to? When we need our locks jimmied but don’t have the skills to do it ourselves?
Chances are, we’ll turn to professionals for help (it’s their job). But these locksmiths are strangers to us, and humans are dishonest, so how do we know the locksmith we hire can be trusted with the knowledge of what our locks protect?
It can be tough to know whether or not a locksmith is being honest with you or not. Thankfully, there are signs indicating dishonesty on the locksmith’s part. If you know what to look for, they’ll tell you that maybe you should be a little leery of this person and their motives. That knowledge is what we‘re spreading in this article.
Signs of the Locksmith’s Dishonesty
Below are some things which should ring warning bells to you if your locksmith displays them.
1. Overcharge for simple services
A locksmith might charge you more for a simple task, such as unlocking a door, than they should. This is where research becomes essential (without research, you lack knowledge, and without knowledge, it becomes easy to fall prey to scammers). Before you call the locksmith, it’s always a good idea to ask friends, family, and professionals (the plural isn’t a mistake) for the usual cost of the required service and work with the average.
If the locksmith you decide on charges you $300 for a service that your research shows should be $150, dump them immediately. That much hunger isn’t in your favor, shows dishonesty on the locksmith’s part, and likely means they’re looking to get more money from you than necessary.
2. They have no company affiliation
If you’ve contacted a company to perform a service or two for you and they send someone over, that person should arrive in a vehicle that displays the company’s name. Failing that, there should at least be indications of ties or employment under the company on their clothes or in the form of a business card, an ID badge, or a photo identification card. If none of these is present, lock the doors (if you can) and call 911 because they’re likely not who you’re expecting. It’s important to ask questions before you let just anyone in your home.
It doesn’t mean you should be unnecessarily rude to strangers, but when it comes to your locks, this is one sign to watch out for.
3. They ask for an upfront payment
If you’re sure the locksmith’s price is fair, you can hire them. However, you should never pay before the locksmith has performed the service to your satisfaction. Upfront payment is one of the biggest scams in any industry. There’s always a chance the locksmith will disappear into the sunset with your money. It’s practically impossible to recover this money, so do your best not to fall for the scam.
Therefore, beware of locksmiths who ask for money before they even so much as arrive at your door. They probably don’t have your best interests in mind.
4. They possess no identification
What kind of professional doesn’t carry around identification to prove their identity and affiliation? If someone shows up at your door claiming to be a locksmith, ask for identification (it should include the locksmith’s name, license number, and a picture of their face). If they don’t have any, don’t let them in your home.
5. They create a sense of urgency
This is a remarkably effective strategy. Fake locksmiths work as quickly as possible to finish the task and get paid, but speed might as well be an antonym of care. When they work that fast, they‘re likely to break something else in their haste. They usually try to cover this up by saying whatever broke must have been weak in the first place and they barely touched it, honest (if they don’t have the morals to not scam people, what makes you think they’ll accept responsibility?).
This would turn into an attempt to sell another service for more charge. In other words, they break your stuff and try to make you pay them to fix it. The balls!
6. Correspondence is via email only
Scammers prefer to handle communication impersonally, through emails, and not through phone calls or in person. That way, it becomes harder to identify them once you realize there’s a problem. You should avoid them as well as you can.
How to Avoid Dishonest Locksmiths
Just as prevention is better than cure, not encountering them in the first place is a much better scam prevention method than relying on your powers of observation to detect false locksmiths. Here are a few tips as to how you can do this:
- Do your research
The first and most important step is to do your research before you hire a locksmith. Research here involves checking the company’s reviews online (see what other people have to say about them and their work), checking the locksmith’s credentials (their license) and verifying their physical address. When researching, check the company’s reviews, and see what other people say about their work. It’s also important to check the locksmith’s license. A good locksmith should always have a valid license issued by the state they’re working in.
- Ask friends and family for referrals
It’s extremely likely that, for one reason or the other, your friends, family, and neighbors have had to make use of the services a locksmith offers. This means they’ve had experience with one or two locksmiths, and likely have one they prefer. Since they’ve done the risky part of letting a stranger in their home and come out happy, simply follow their path by asking them for recommendations for the best person to solve your problem.
You can hire whoever they vouch for with little to no risk of being scammed or ripped off. It’s a win.
Good news, though! You can avoid all these headaches (especially if it’s an emergency) by calling us, Alcatraz Locksmith, one of Phoenix’s most trusted locksmith companies for over 30 years. We’ll fix your lock and return your smile to your face.