costly mistakes

How to Avoid Locksmith Scams

Do you worry about running into a locksmith scam next time you need to call one? You should be worried if you don’t know what to look for. Many people don’t realize that locksmith scams are common and they are easily avoidable by being informed.

This year, it’s important to know what types of scams someone may try on you so that you can notice when something doesn’t feel right. Use these tips, like looking for a licensed locksmith company and inquiring about pricing, to make sure you avoid common locksmith scams next time you need one.

Get a quote and watch for extra charges

One of the ways to avoid a scam is to make sure a company can give you a quote and be transparent about when extra charges may come up.  If possible, compare a few quotes so that you can see which ones are too high and which ones are reasonable.

If a quote does seem a bit high, it could be due to the job. The reason for the high prices is getting a service at your home rather than getting help from a store. You’re paying for the tools, the time, the transportation, the licensing costs, the continued training, and the skill of that professional.

Extra charges may come in to play and it’s important that a locksmith is transparent about that possibility. It’s common to pay for after-hours assistance, extra mileage, or service call minimums. Be sure to ask for a quote and what extras may come into play, since a professional locksmith would be happy to answer your questions about the intended repair.

A scammer would refuse to answer questions or may try to charge you for things unfairly after the job was done without quoting you for it in advance. Scammers also like to tell you the entire lock system needs to be replaced, charging you for a replacement part that is low-quality and unnecessary.

Scammers aren’t local and aren’t licensed

You’ll want to make sure you’re hiring a legitimate locksmith with proper licensing and identification. Look out for companies that are vague on the phone, don’t offer details like the name of the company, their local address, or a website, and use an 800 number rather than a local number that could actually be a call center.

A legitimate locksmith would answer the phone with identification, and be able to provide proof of their licensure and ID in person or online. In many states, it’s illegal to advertise these services without proper credentials. You can trust a locksmith that arrives in a company car rather than an unmarked car and actually asks for your ID to make sure you are unlocking a home or car that really belongs to you.

Look for these guys if you want quality, professional locksmith services!

Look for these guys if you want quality, professional locksmith services!

Other Red Flags

There are certain details that you may feel uneasy about that are likely red flags to steer clear of this company. Did they answer the phone “locksmith services” instead of mentioning their company name? Are they able to provide ID or did they arrive in an unmarked car? If they insist on cash only, it’s their way of avoiding having you dispute the charge later when you realize this is a scam.

Did they insist on drilling out the lock and insisting on a replacement rather than bringing the proper tools to unlock the door? Are you struggling to find their address on their website or on google? Look for red flags such as these that may tell you to call someone else.

Use this guide to make sure you are working with legitimate locksmiths and avoiding any of the common scams that have fooled so many in recent years.

What do Avoid doing when locked out of your house

Do you know what to do when locked out of your house? Getting locked out of your home isn't fun. It's a frustrating situation and may lead you to do something you shouldn't do. There are certain things you should do when you get locked out and other things you should avoid doing. Here are five things you never want to do when you get locked out of your home.

Kick in the Door

It may be tempting to kick in your door, but it's a bad idea. First, this isn't like the movies or TV shows and you'll likely hurt yourself trying to kick in the door. There's a reason why police officer use a battering ram when they need to get in.

Second, if you do successfully kick in the door, it will probably need to be replaced. You'll likely cause damage to the door and the frame of the door. It's best to keep your anger under control and avoid trying to kick in the door. If you do, however, we also offer door installation in Chicago!

Break the Doorknob

If you want to cause yourself more headaches and more frustration, go ahead and break the doorknob. This means you'll need to replace it and it will likely cost you more than it should to get out of this jam. It's best to leave the doorknob alone so that you don't have to pay for a replacement.

In addition, if you break the doorknob, you'll probably damage the door and possibly the frame of the door. It could require an entirely new door, which will cost you far more than just calling a local locksmith in Chicago.

Pick the Lock

You're not an expert and just because others on TV can pick a lock with a paper clip doesn't mean you can. It's more likely that you'll damage the door lock and may even make it impossible to get a key into it. You may end up needing a replacement door lock due to your genius idea to pick the lock.

Break a Window

It's not necessary to break a window in order to get into your home. If you make this decision, you'll have to hire someone to replace your window. It will cost you more than you think and if it's an older window, you'll have one newer window to go with your home full of older windows.

Freak Out

There's no sense in freaking out if you've locked yourself out. Where there is a problem, there's also a solution. You don't need to freak out if you're locked out of the house. Instead, call The Professional Locksmith and let us help you get back into your home.

After you've gotten back into your home, consider having The Professional Locksmith help to keep this problem from happening again. How to prevent getting locked out again:

  • Go keyless with smart locks requiring a code to get in instead of a key.

  • Have a lock box hidden with a code to get in and put an extra house key in it.

  • Get extra keys made and give them to close family members or friends.

Once you've been rescued, you can make one of these changes to ensure you don't have to worry about getting locked out again. Even if you do find yourself locked out again without a spare key, The Professional Locksmith is always just a phone call away!

Most Common Locksmith Scams for 2017

When you hire a locksmith, the last thing you are thinking about is if you are going to be scammed by a company. Your thoughts are all about getting the job done, getting you out of a bad situation when you’ve lost your keys, or getting set up in a new home where you are moving in. For someone that has been trying to get home from traveling and is arriving exhausted and hungry, the worst thing that can happen is to try to open the door with a suitcase in tow just to find that your keys are missing.

Calling a locksmith is supposed to be a solution to these stressful, unexpected situations, which makes locksmith scams one of the worst feelings imaginable. Take a look at how you can protect your home, your family, and your wallet from these common locksmith scams that you may run into this year.

Identity theft

You already worry about identity theft every time you swipe your credit card or have to submit personal information, but do you also have to worry about when working with a locksmith? Watch out for this scam this year when it comes to locksmiths because now customers can be deceived into giving out personal information that can be sold or used by a criminal later.

Companies may do a great a job and charge an appropriate price, but after the service, they may sell your personal information. Look for a reputable locksmith with great reviews and verify their license before hiring them for the job.

Getting overcharged

Did you find a locksmith charging especially low prices as a one-time special? When you find a locksmith with unbelievably low rates, it’s a good sign that you may end up in a bait and switch situation. What happens is that a locksmith will attract new customers with a really low rate, and by the end of providing service, the price will have increased to 400 or 500% more than the original quote.

While the job got done and you are back in your home safe and sound, you are going to end up overpaying a company that you specifically chose for that low price. Don’t fall for a low price scam, and be willing to pay a reasonable price with a company that quotes you appropriately from the start.

New handle needed

Watch out this year for locksmiths that pull this trick on you. Some locksmiths will try to tell you that the only way to get into your home is that they will have to break the handle or wrench it off, when in fact, it wasn’t necessary. Then, you’ll end up overpaying for the services and the replacement when it wasn’t even needed.

You may fall for this trick and pay for the work and the parts that weren’t needed and not realize until later that you could have avoided the whole ordeal with the right locksmith. You should never have to deal with a locksmith that arrives with incorrect tools for the job, like a drill, rather than the standard tension wrench and lever pick. Look for a reputable locksmith that won’t suggest outlandish methods of getting back into your home.

Only accepting cash

Along with the scam of overpaying, you may run into a locksmith that demands a cash only payment. They are really scammers who arrive posing as locksmiths, do the job to “fix” the lock, and then ask for cash only rather than another form of payment. This is a good sign that it’s a scam because the scammer doesn’t have to worry about you disputing the charge later or realizing they aren’t a licensed and legit company.

Make sure to ask a locksmith a few questions before hiring them, such as a price estimate, how they plan to get into the house, where they are located, and whether they would need to use a drill or what could cause the price to vary. These questions will help you avoid being scammed this year when you need a locksmith during a stressful situation.

Call the very reputable The Professional Locksmiths for all your Chicago Locksmith needs!

Professionals_Black.jpg