You would not think of a locksmith company being a scammers choice of scam, however the practice is more common than you may think. Scammers may make fake locksmith businesses to take peoples money or break into someones house, and sometimes it is hard to avoid until it is already done. Here are some tips on how to avoid it happening to you.
1. Be wary on the phone
Some fake companies will answer the phone with a generic greeting like, locksmith services instead of stating their business name. Be wary of people who answer the phone this way, as they may have multiple entries in multiple phone books and not be sure which company you are trying to call. If they cannot or will not provide you with their legal business name, they are a scam.
1. Ask for identification
When they locksmith arrives, ask for a form of identification to show that they are with the company they claim to be with. In Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, all locksmiths are required to be licensed, so if you live in any of these states, ask for proof of their license as well.
1. Get a price quote before work begins
This includes emergency services. Make sure that you get an actual cost estimate, and hold the locksmith company to that price so that they dont try to gut you on price later. You may want to consider getting a written and signed estimate before the work begins, so that you have proof to hold up in a claims battle later.
1. Ask about extra charges
This includes costs for emergency services, mileage or service call minimums. Some companies will be careful to quote you a price that doesnt include these extra services, then get you later by adding them on.
1. If the on-site price and phone estimate dont match, dont allow them to work
This could mean that they are trying to take advantage of you, or that the business on the phone is not the business that they are claiming to be.
1. Make note of the vehicle the locksmith arrives in
If it is a legitimate company, they should be arriving in a clearly marked vehicle. If they dont arrive in a marked vehicle and they dont have a really good excuse, dont let them do the work, even if they have a convincing-looking identification.
1. If youre locked out of your house, be cautious of companies that recommend drilling or replacing the lock upfront
Legitimate, experienced locksmiths will have the tools and experience to unlock the door and will not have to resort to such drastic measures. If they cannot do this, than they are either trying to break into your house or they are too inexperienced to be charging people for their services.
Following these guidelines will severely reduce the likelihood that a fake or inexperienced locksmith business will scam you. In addition, always be sure to do your research on a company before you call them to come work on your locks.
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