Did you know that our state of Pennsylvania does not require locksmiths to have a license to operate and do business? Because of this, locksmith scammers will pop up all over the internet for this state and the Philadelphia area. So, to protect yourself from a locksmith scammer, it’s extremely important to make sure they are a member of the ALOA (Associated Locksmiths of America).
A Typical Locksmith Scammer’s Operation
The best way to avoid being scammed by a locksmith imitator is to know how they work. Below is a helpful video that describes in detail each step that a locksmith scammer will take. If you have a few minutes, give this video a view or scan through our synopsis with transcription for the short version.
Step 1: Using Enticing Internet Ads
You lock your keys in the car, you lock them in your home, you got your cellphone, you Google local locksmiths in your area, maybe even see a couple of ads that say, “$19. We’ll come and unlock your door.” Sounds pretty good. What you don’t know is that, you’re not calling a local locksmith. What you’re really calling is a call center, located somewhere in the middle of the country.
There are a couple of these reputable companies, and what they have been doing is flooding all of the online search engines, and a traditional Yellow page advertisements, with phony businesses, phony websites, phony addresses. A ratio of 50 to 1. For every legitimate locksmith, they’re creating 50 made up companies. All to increase the odds that you will be calling one of their numbers.
Step 2: Confusing You With Vague Business Names
When you do call, this locksmith will never answer the phone using the name of the company that you actually think you’re calling. Instead, it’ll be a generic locksmith name because there are all of these calls coming in. They’ll ask your location, and then send one of their co-conspirators, one of their scam locksmiths, over to your address.
Step 3: Claiming The Lock Cannot Be Picked
Now, every legitimate locksmith knows that the easiest, simplest, quickest, least expensive way to open a door is, to pick the lock.
The scammers are aware of that as well, which is why they’ll tell you, as soon as they get there, “Oh, I can’t pick this because one of the pins is stuck or broken,” “This lock is too new,” “This lock is too old to be picked,” whatever the excuse is. Here’s the bait and switch, that $19 service call quickly becomes 2, 3, 4, or 500 over $600. How do they do that? How is that even possible? Well, immediately, they’ll take out their drill. More money just for the drilling, OK?
Step 4: Destroying Your Lock To Increase Their Profit
They will then drill a hole into your lock, that’s the way they’re going to open up the door, destroying your lock. They have now ruined your lock. Now, it’s got to be replaced which means more money. Now, you have to put in new hardware. The lock is one thing, they’re going to all charge you, to have it installed again more money, and more money, and so it goes.
Step 5: Accepting Cash Only to Ensure No Return of Funds
Rarely will these locksmith scammers ever accept credit cards because those charges can be reversed. It’s always cash, and on rare occasions, maybe a debit card because those charges cannot be reversed. There are also many states that do not require locksmiths to be registered or licensed, which is why they are basing their operations in those very states. N
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from Locksmith Scammers?
- Find a trusted, local, Philadelphia locksmith as soon as you settle into your home.
Not sure how to do this? We can help you choose the right locksmith.
- Put this locksmith’s phone number into your cellphone. You’ll never know when that will come in handy.
Not really sure how or where to find a legitimate locksmith? Visit aloa.org.
The ALOA Security Professionals Association is, without doubt, the world’s most trusted locksmith association. Not only here in United States, but in the world, because there are international chapters throughout the globe. Any locksmith who is interested in becoming a member of this esteemed association has to have background checks.
Great Valley Lockshop is a proud ALOA member. Contact us today to find out more about our services and any questions about finding a professional locksmith in the Philadelphia area. Give us a call at 610-644-5334.