The internet is stuffed with franchises advertising reputable local locksmiths. Of these, many are regulated and well rounded, with masterful skills sometimes learned over many years of family business. The internet alone contains many locksmiths involved in rogue operations. They may have little or no knowledge in master key cutting or lock picking. However, they are willing to take a quick buck overcharging for a job or, even worse, stealing, scamming using identity fraud or key duplication.
The UK national news has reported that in the past, rogue locksmiths target specific areas to concentrate upon before moving on the next potential target.
Perhaps the cheekiest of all scams – a rogue Locksmith given access to your home could steal and sell your information. Having any unsupervised access to your private papers/identification cards such as your passport, driving license and whatever else one might ‘need’, may cause a horrible aftermath – easily avoided if you find a reputable and Local Locksmith.
Baiting and Switching
Many MLA approved sites recommend not to fall for a quote that seems very, very cheap. IF it seems too good to be true – it usually is! The rogue locksmith gets the booked job due to their promise of a very low price.
Upon arrival, they begin to claim the job is far more complicated, charging the customer way over the odds of a fairly-priced reputable and legitimate locksmith.
The client, under pressure, then feels they have no choice but to go ahead and pay the new amount so that the job is completed. This is a particularly manipulative scam and can also be combined with Door Drilling (SEE BELOW)
Although you may be tempted to pay in cash, without a record or receipt it could lead to loss of your normal statutory rights as a person paying for a service.
Depending on the individual, this is also intimidating – it is to make the customer feels as though they cannot dispute any part of the service.
Whole New Handle (Door Drilling)
Scamming Locksmiths will often destroy the entire door lock in order to sell outrageously priced replacements etc.
Most skilled Master Locksmiths can usually unpick and unlock any door without having to drill out the whole lock, so be very wary of this being a necessity, especially if this is done immediately after arrival. There is no choice but to replace the whole lock if the door is totally without a handle! Try to ascertain the exact problem before you let the Locksmith go ahead with the work needed.
This scam is self-explanatory – The locksmith carries out your key cutting or lock change, but makes a new duplicate key for themselves to access, or send another person to access your personal items. This could happen either immediately or a few months after the lock change to avoid suspicion.
This could risk your security at home, your car, office, shed, garage, etc, so be sure to arrange some insurance for personal items and burglary and keep all records of identification with any tradesmen entering or able to access your home.
When replacing your keys and locks, scammers can easily overcharge by advising you incorrectly on the type of replacement pin key you require. The highest number and expense is a six pin lock, which is over twice the price of a five pin, so you can see where this could end up in an instance of a job with multiple lock changes.
For more information about Licenced Locksmiths check out national guidelines here: http://www.locksmiths.co.uk/about/trade/mla-sectors/
In England, K C Locksmiths are the most reputable, highly rated and reviewed company. Offering all home security and locksmith services at competitive but fair prices, K C Locksmiths offers quotes after call-out so there are no hidden fees.