You know the Hollywood movies where the person in a position of trust – a police officer, army corporal, or politician – is as corrupt as they come, and you only find this out in a shocking twist, perhaps when they turn the gun on the good guys? It’s not so much fun in real life when you’re duped by those in positions of trust. As locksmiths serving the GTA, we take our duties and responsibilities very seriously. We’re honest, responsible and reliable. But not every locksmith is like Pro Locksmiths! It isn’t surprising that clever criminals have found the ultimate way to scam unsuspecting home and business owners: by posing to be locksmiths and security experts so they can breach your defenses and worm their way inside your property.
Scam artists posing as locksmiths pose a danger to the unwary!
There are all sorts of locksmith scams out there, right up to and including the most extreme – criminals posing as locksmiths to try to gain access to your property, locks and keys for a fake ‘security audit’ or even those who will attempt to rob you there and then as soon as you crack open the door. But the most common locksmith scam is the simplest: untrained, unlicensed fake locksmiths who respond to your emergency call, break you back into your home or vehicle while doing a whole lot of damage to your locks, and then charge you 10x the going rate for this ‘emergency locksmith service’. You would be better off literally throwing a rock through your own window and getting back inside!
How can these scams be so common and pervasive? Here’s what gets innocent people every time:
- Most members of the public are somewhat naïve to emergency locksmith services. They don’t know how a professional actually picks a lock so they aren’t alarmed when they see the drill coming out and their lock completely busted.
- People are desperate when they are locked out of their home or vehicle. Under those conditions, many will pay just about any amount to get back inside.
- People trust Google. When you perform a Google search of ‘emergency locksmith’ on your phone, you expect Google to show you businesses that have a physical location in your area. When you see a physical address, a phone number and a website, this automatically inspires trust. Unfortunately, companies are savvy enough to trick Google into thinking there is a physical address when none actually exists – or they steal a real locksmith’s bricks and mortar address and operate under a different name. These aren’t real businesses, just a website or phone number linked to a bunch of poorly trained locksmiths with no real credentials.
How to choose a locksmith wisely
Of course you want someone to be there fast to get you back into your home or automobile…that’s what the scammers are counting on. Take a deep breath first and realize that there are many reputable locksmiths in the GTA; it’s not hard to tell the difference if you take just a few minutes to ask some key questions. Here is what we suggest you be aware of, to discern whether your responder is really a rescuer or just another company ready to take advantage of your need.
- Ask to see proof of their TAOL membership (The Association of Ontario Locksmiths) instead of just going for the first hit on Google
- If you don’t have a high-security lock, it can be picked. Don’t allow someone to drill into a regular lock, it’s just not necessary.
- You can call any locksmith and ask for a quote without obligation, so do a bit of comparison shopping (a real locksmith won’t need to see the lock first but will quote over the phone). If a technician attempts to raise the stated fee when they arrive onsite, you could be dealing with a scam.
Next time you need emergency, residential or commercial locksmith services, avoid the stress and worry of finding yourself a reputable company: you already know one – and you’re reading their blog right now!