How to Avoid Locksmith Scams

MARCH 12, 2011

    Legitimate locksmith companies may also use similar names to improve their position in business directories, so use the following tips from the Federal Trade Commission to help avoid a scam:

  •  Be wary of locksmith companies that answer calls with generic phrases like “locksmith services,” rather than a specific name. If a locksmith cannot or will not provide the business’ legal name, find another locksmith.
  •  When the locksmith arrives, ask for identification, including a locksmith license where applicable. Alabama, California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas all require locksmiths to be licensed.
  •  Get an estimate before any work begins, including emergency service.
  •  Ask about extra charges for things like emergency hours, mileage or service call minimums before you agree to have the work performed.

Not all states require locksmiths to be licensed. Be sure to know your state’s requirements when hiring for services. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member Patrick F. of Colleyville, Texas)

  •  If the locksmith’s on-site price doesn’t match the phone estimate, don’t allow the work to be performed.
  •  Most legitimate locksmiths will arrive in a clearly marked vehicle.
  •  If you’re locked out, be cautious of companies that recommend or insist on drilling or replacing the lock up front. Most experienced locksmiths have the skills and tools to unlock almost any door.

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