Nobody goes looking for a locksmith when they are having a good day. Getting locked out of your home or car is a stressful experience.
However, it’s important to be aware that there are scammers out there who are just waiting to prey on your stress. These people will overcharge you, damage your car, and leave you worse than they found you.
Scambusters will tell you that locksmith scams are some of the fastest growing scams in the nation, so we thought we’d take a few minutes to help you figure out how to spot one.
Scammers are not licensed.
The State of Illinois requires all locksmiths to be licensed. You can look up any locksmith’s license with an easy online search. In fact, we encourage you to do so. We want you to know you’re safe with us.
Scammers quote prices that are almost ten times higher than any professional locksmith service should ever cost.
Make sure you familiarize yourself with common service cost averages for different services before you call. At Omega, our average call costs between $100 and $300, depending on what needs to be done. Note that the more expensive calls are usually full rekeys on transponder systems which require special care.
Of course, nobody’s going to quote a $1500 rate over the phone. Instead they quote something stupid low, like $10 or $20, so they can get their foot in the door. Then they show up, disassemble your lock, and tell you, “It’s more complicated than I thought it would be.” That’s when they hit you with the high prices. Some even start yelling, screaming, and threatening you if you won’t pay up–in cash.
Scammers are untrained.
Most scammers are untrained or self-taught, which is why they don’t have a license. Some of them got their “training” by ripping off cars. You have to get a criminal background check to get a locksmith’s license, and they can’t manage to pass one of those, either.
Do your homework!
Researching a potential locksmith is the best way to make sure you are dealing with someone is legitimate. Check the locksmith’s website. Is it a thin site, or does it have a lot of content? Check third party review sites. What are other people saying about the locksmith? Are they licensed?
When you get them on the phone, ask for a ballpark quote. Does it sound realistic and reasonable for the type of job you’re asking the locksmith to do?
Finally, jot down the locksmith’s license plate number once they roll up. This gives you some recourse if they’re dirty, giving you more information to pass on to the police.
You could also just call us. Omega Locksmith has spent years developing a positive reputation in the Chicago Metro Area, and we’re happy to help you. We welcome you to check our licenses or anything else you need to check in order to know we’re on the up and up. We’re here to help, and we care about giving you a great experience.