Many of you have probably experienced being locked out of your house or car in the middle of the night. We are aware that not everyone has a locksmith’s phone number stored on their phone. So what would the majority of you do next?
You will pull out your cell phones, Google the locksmiths in your area, breathe a sigh of relief, and then dial one of the numbers for locksmiths that appear beneath paid advertisements.
But what if we told you that it might be a fraud and that you might be a victim of a locksmith scam? Sounds scary, right? Locksmith scams do exist and here’s everything you need to know about them!
What’s Locksmith Scam and How They operate
People who have placed their fictitious locksmith businesses on the internet and overcharge clients when they approach them are complicit in the locksmith scam. These fraudulent locksmiths prey on those who call them in an emergency. In the United States, numerous reports of such scams have been made over the past couple of years.
When you Google “locksmiths” because you urgently require their services, you assume the Google search engine’s algorithms would provide a list of the most reputable locksmiths in your neighborhood.
You will find the descriptions and recommendations for particular locksmiths to be impressive. However, there’s a significant probability that some of the locksmiths included in your search results are scams.
Call centers operate these scam locksmiths companies. Many of these call centers are located outside The USA, in other countries. Using a high-tech method, these individuals trick Google into displaying them as real businesses in your neighborhood.
These call centers maintain a group of unqualified workers. When you make a call, your information is sent to them by text message, and one of those subcontractors will show up at the specified place.
They double the price you pay for their substandard work. They not only steal your money but also perform the work poorly because they lack locksmith training.
Signs of Fake Locksmiths
- These fraudulent locksmiths create fake websites, appear in search engine advertisements, and are included in business directories that seem like listings for genuine locksmiths.
- They present photo shopped images of locksmith shops in places where none genuinely exist.
- They obtain fake reviews from phone clients.
- These fraudulent locksmiths use names that are the same as or very similar to those of reputable locksmith businesses. They also ruin the reputation of legitimate locksmiths in this way.
- These fraudulent locksmiths use addresses of P. O. Boxes, actual residences or other companies, or very rarely an address associated with a locksmith company.
- Instead of connecting you with an actual locksmith, your call will be diverted to call centers.
- They maintain low prices to draw in more clients.
- They typically drive about in automobiles without any locksmith firm signage.
- They do not provide credentials or paperwork if demanded by clients. They won’t give an exact address either.
- You won’t get a documented cost estimate from them.
- They want payment in cash or by debit card, not with a credit card.
Ways to avoid becoming a victim of Locksmiths Scam
Finding fraudulent locksmiths can be challenging, but if you maintain your composure and bear a few factors in mind when looking for a locksmith in an emergency, you can avoid being one of their victims.
We know that it may be challenging to investigate every aspect of the locksmiths you are attempting to contact in an emergency. But you can find whether other companies share the address provided by the locksmith company.
If so, this indicates that the locksmith company is a scam. Additionally, multiple listening of different companies at the same address can be illegal. Locksmiths who arrive in unmarked vehicles should be avoided. Genuine locksmiths typically have a van bearing their business name.
Yes, we know that in the beginning, we stated that phone locksmiths obtain fake testimonials and reviews, but those assessments are typically brief, ambiguous, and devoid of specifics.
On their websites, scam locksmiths typically have only favorable ratings of 5 stars, whereas the real ones have both positive and negative comments.
Ask for documents And Credentials.
It is the easiest way to find the legitimacy of their business. First, request their credentials and supporting documents.
Next, request a copy of their license and find out whether their business is a part of any locksmith associations, such as Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA), which requires members to pass background checks.
Get a Fixed Quote
Before using the services, get a fixed price or rates. Clear that you won’t accept further fees after getting the services. Then, before work starts, get a documented estimate on the firm’s letterhead, including mileage fees, minimums, and other costs.
Don’t Accept Services That Will Damage Your Property
Genuine and qualified locksmiths won’t harm your property, business, or vehicle. They always have a workaround for problems that don’t involve breaking your property. So say no if they insist on causing damage to your property.
Steps to Take if You Become a Victim of a Locksmith Scam
Send in complaints about these fraudulent locksmiths. Even though you might not get your money back, you should file a complaint to aid authorities in finding and apprehending the scammers.
Your state’s consumer protection section of the Attorney General’s office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Cyber Division, and the Internet Crime Complaint Center are all places where you can register complaints.
Speak with your bank right away. You have the right to challenge your costs as fraudulent if you made your payment using a debit card. If a check was used to make the payment and hasn’t been processed yet by the scammers, you can stop it. Speak to a representative at your bank to discuss all of your possibilities.
If you try to be cautious, you can avoid falling victim to con locksmiths.
Ask your friends for recommendations of reliable locksmith service providers in your neighborhood if you ever find yourself in an emergency locksmith predicament. They can provide you with the names of reputable locksmiths. Avoid contacting locksmiths who raise any red flags or who you suspect may be scammers.