What Do Locksmith Scams Look Like In 2024?

There are scammers in every industry, and unfortunately Locksmithing is no exception. Because so many people need a locksmith when they are desperate and vulnerable, it’s all too easy for criminals to exploit them. Locksmith scams can range from overcharging for basic services all the way to outright fraud, where the service is charged for but never delivered. The types of scams tend to go in and out of style though, so we wanted to show you what the most common locksmithing scams might look like in 2024.

Common Types of Locksmith Scams

There are as many scam styles as you can possibly imagine, but they all tend to fall into one of three categories:

Bait + Switch: This involves advertising and quoting services at very low prices in order to get work. Once the job has been done, the scammer will dramatically increase the cost. They rely on the customer being thrown and feeling as though they have no choice but to pay the higher fee because the job has been completed. In reality, you should only pay the price quoted, or report the scammer to the police.

The Unnecessary Replacement: Some scammers will come out to look at your job, and try to persuade you to replace your locks rather than try to repair them. That’s because it’s an easier job that they can charge more for. This one is tricky to spot, because sometimes it is genuinely a better option to replace a lock than to repair it -but a good locksmith will be able to explain this to you and give you options.

Fake ‘Local’ Locksmiths: These are cases where a scammer will pretend to be a local locksmith – even with a local online presence to back it up. But they are actually part of a national scam operation. The profiles and info will all be fake, and if a real person is sent out at all, they certainly won’t be local, and will likely pull one of the two scams above.

How Do I Identify A Scam Locksmith?

It can be tricky spotting a scam locksmith, especially if they’ve been at it a while. But there are a few red flags you can look out for. You should be always be cautious of any locksmiths offering services at significantly lower prices than other locksmiths out there. While some price variation is expected between locksmiths, there are market rates and average prices you’ll see. So if one provider sticks out as a lot lower, don’t get too excited. It could be a sign of a scammer trying to lure you in.

Another big sign is a lack of professionalism. This includes working from unmarked vehicles, not having proper identification, and having an unprofessional demeanour. A professional locksmith will work from a branded van, carry identification that is visible and easy to see, and behave how you would expect a professional tradesperson to behave. A scammer may also try to use high-pressure tactics to get you to use their services, or upgrade and spend more money when you don’t really have to.

How To Choose A Reputable Locksmith

With scammers on the loose, how exactly do you figure out who’s reliable and who isn’t? And when you do hire a locksmith, what can you do to make sure you’re getting a good service?

Research & referrals: When you need a locksmith, do your research and make sure your locksmith is trusted. Checking online reviews and asking for recommendations from trusted sources are both great ways to find a reputable locksmith.

Verification: You should always verify that the locksmith you’re working with is insured and working legitimately. Things like checking their physical address and contact details are important, as well as if they’re registered with HMRC.

Check qualifications: Make sure that any locksmith you choose is qualified to actually do the job. That means having the skills, experience and training to do things the right way. While there are no specific qualifications you have to get to become a locksmith, most locksmiths will choose to do the voluntary ones to show that they’re trustworthy.

Get written estimates: Never accept a verbal quote from any tradesman, not just a locksmith. It’s too easy for them to go back on their word, or add things without telling you. Get a written estimate before they do any work, and make sure it includes all costs you can expect to pay, including service fees, labour and hardware.

Communication is key: A good locksmith will be happy to communicate with you all throughout the process, from quote to completion. Make sure that you are being clear about the work to be done, and are getting clear communication about the costs involved.

Use technology to your advantage: There are a lot of tools out there that can help you stay safe. Apps and online services that allow you to verify and review local locksmiths, with real-time reviews and ratings. Use these services to make sure that you’re choosing a reputable locksmith.

At My Locks, we’re always happy to show you our credentials, explain our background and provide quotes in writing, as well as verbally. We hate that there are locksmith scammers out there giving us a bad name, so we’re always happy to provide any reassurances we can before we start work. If you have any questions, or want to know more, just get in touch with the team today.