Being locked out of your home or car is really annoying. It’s also embarrassing, inconvenient and sometimes dangerous. This is why the services of emergency locksmiths are priceless. Their ability to make new keys or pick locks aid people in emergencies. However, despite this, you must be vigilant about scammers disguised as authentic professionals.
Although most locksmiths are genuine, these con-artists cheat countless people in emergencies. This hurts the industry’s reputation.
It is always better to go with professionals when you get locked out, instead of falling into the hands of scammers. Someone pretending to be a locksmith won’t be easy to differentiate from an actual locksmith. At Aegis Locksmiths, we have been offering commercial and residential locksmith services in Edmonton and surrounding areas for more than 30 years. All our locksmiths are licensed professionals who have significant industry experience. You can always count on us if you need locks and security systems for your business or home.
A Detailed Breakdown of Locksmith Scams
It is a multi-faceted scam, directed at people who call a locksmith out of desperation. It could be a fake organization or an individual con artist behind the whole thing.
The scam starts with an ad for a non-existent enterprise. There are numerous websites for many fake businesses and they look legitimate. Some will even have customer testimonials and storefront pictures. They might even rank high on Google, with prices better than most in the area. Unfortunately, all these are hooks to pull you into their trap.
Once an unsuspicious person calls one of these businesses, it sets the second phase into motion. The operator will offer you an irresistibly low quote and then communicate to a sub-contractor to send someone to you.
The third phase begins when the fake locksmith reaches your place and winds up drilling the lock to destroy it. Claiming the job was harder than expected, the con man will then charge much more than the original quote.
The scheme of locksmith scam works on the fact that nobody plans for emergencies such as lockouts.
How to Identify a Locksmith Scam
Many think they are doing the right thing by searching online. What they don’t realize is that scammers can fool internet directories by copying legitimate local locksmiths. In many cases, they don’t operate local shops as they will be run out-of-state. They may not even be trained in this profession.
Here are some key factors that should be red flags:
The advertisement is too good to be true
The cost mentioned is very low, within a range of $10 to $20. It may have a storefront picture, but doing a reverse image search on Google will enable you to find if it was stolen from a legitimate business.
The phone conversation sounds illegitimate
They won’t be answering with a business name but directly state “service” or “locksmith”. While quoting, they may state something like “$15 and up”. There is no way a locksmith can stay in business by charging so low. The “and up” is tricky and you could end up paying hundreds of dollars.
Unable to produce a license
In Alberta, it’s necessary for a locksmith to be licensed by the Government to even legally buy their tools. The law mandates that they produce the license when clients ask for it. You can ask for it during the phone call and if the answer is yes, request to see the license when they arrive.
The fake locksmith will probably not be wearing a uniform or have any ID. Chances are their vehicle will not have permanent markings about their business.
The locksmith makes excuses
When the person begins to work, they will say it’s a “commercial lock” or a “high security lock” and suggest drilling it. This will destroy the lock to be replaced with a cheaper one. A legitimate locksmith will be able to pick a lock without wrecking it. Drilling will be recommended very rarely.
They demand debit or cash
Scammers usually demand cash, but they may agree to take a debit card if you don’t have cash in hand. They will try to avoid accepting credit cards because it is easy to trace.
You’re unable to contact them after service
After the fake locksmith leaves, you will probably not be able to contact them or the company again. In case you manage to get in touch with the locksmith, you will be told the company sets the prices. If you get to talk to someone at the company, they will reply that they have fired the technician and nothing more can be done.
Work with a Locksmith You Can Trust
Aegis Locksmiths offers decades of experience and we are fully licensed by the Government of Alberta. We are also a long-time member of the Professional Locksmiths Association of Alberta. Our services and products range from used and new safes to automotive lock repair and service.
Also, for information on securing your Edmonton home, read our blog post - IS YOUR HOME SECURE, EDMONTON?
Do not be a victim to locksmith scammers.
Call us if you are locked out of your home or car.