From safes to front doors, most of us use locks every day, and the risk of a lockout is always present. However, you might want to think twice about which locksmith you hire to help you out. According to the Better Business Bureau, locksmithing scams are on the rise. If you aren’t careful who you hire, you could be in for a nasty surprise when you get your bill. So how do you protect yourself from a scammer?
Get the License Number
Every locksmith should be licensed in your state. If a locksmith cannot or will not give you a license number over the phone, it’s a major sign that he or she is not to be trusted. In person, locksmiths should be able to provide a small license card similar to a driver’s license. Never deal with an unlicensed locksmith.
Scope Out The Address
If you get your locksmith’s information over the phone or from the internet, always get an address. If possible, visit the address to confirm that it belongs to the correct company. Some fake locksmith services will lie about their address, using the information of another company or even a vacant lot.
Double Check The Price
Shady locksmiths will often quote very low prices on their websites or ads, only to tack on fees and inflate the price dramatically when the bill arrives. Your locksmith should provide you with a free estimate for all services necessary. If the technician refuses to do an estimate or attempts to charge you for it, you’ll need to find someone else.
Don’t Meet Your Locksmith Alone
If at all possible don’t be alone when the technician comes. Many scam victims report paying for bad service or paying higher than their estimate because they were alone and intimidated by the scammer. Make sure to have a friend or family member with you so you won’t have to stand up to the locksmith alone if they turn out to be a fraud. Speaking of friends and family…
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of ferreting out a decent locksmith, you can always ask your friends and family if they know anyone reputable. You can also check out the Better Business Bureau’s website, BBB.org, for a list of licensed locksmiths in your area.
Even though being locked out can feel like a crisis, it’s important to keep a cool head and be safe. By knowing the signs of a locksmith scam, you can protect yourself from financial danger and get your day back on track in no time.