How to Tell a Legitimate Locksmith from a Scammer
It’s 8 o’clock on a Tuesday and you are packing up to leave the office after a long, stressful day. You have your jacket, your phone and your laptop, but some frantic searching of your office and desk drawers results in the realization that you don’t have your car keys. You run out to the parking lot and one glance into your car reveals your worst nightmare – you locked the keys in the car. You sigh, or let a few expletives slip out, before trying to gather your composure in the dimly lit parking lot. A quick Google search and five-minute phone call later and you have a legitimate locksmith on the way.
Or do you?
Locksmith scammers have been sweeping across the nation, with get-rich-quick schemes that line their pockets with money, while costing you astronomical amounts. When you lock yourself out of your car, or house, it is a stressful situation and we at RBM Lock & Key understand that. We have been in the locksmith business for 46 years and know how frustrating and frazzling the situation can be. That’s why it is important to learn how to spot a real locksmith, from a scammer, before it’s actually time to call one.
The Differences between a Legitimate Locksmith and Scammer
- License: A legitimate locksmith will have a license issued by the state of California that he can present to you. A scammer may present a “fake” license or ID tag, but there is a website to verify a license. It’s a good idea to know what a proper license looks like and ensure that you have the website saved on your phone to double check. A real locksmith won’t get frustrated if you take a minute to check.
- Vehicle: A legitimate locksmith will generally drive a marked business vehicle. A scammer will likely have no markings on their vehicle, possibly have out of state plates, or magnetic signs that are easy to remove.
- Appearance: A legitimate locksmith will usually have a uniform and ID badge on them. A fake locksmith may not have either of those things.
- Pricing: A legitimate locksmith should be able to give you an estimate upfront that is written, with a copy provided to you. A scammer might price a job as “$19.99 and up” or will provide a different price on-site than the one that the person on the phone gave you. Keep an eye out for those red flags. Also, be sure to ask about special fees as a scammer may tell you the job is only $20, but tack on a $75 emergency or after hours fee afterwards.
- Method of Payment: A legitimate locksmith should be able to take credit cards, as well as debit and cash. Scammers generally demand payment in cash and refuse credit because they want to avoid possibly being tracked after they leave.
Get to Know a Local Locksmith
The best time to choose a locksmith is BEFORE you find yourself in an emergency situation. That is where RBM Lock & Key comes in. We have been in the locksmith business since 1973 and can work on anything from cars and trucks, to residential, commercial and industrial buildings. No matter the lock job, we can get it done in a timely, professional and safe manner for you and your family.