With the advent of the Internet and powerful search engines like Google and Yahoo, it has become incredibly easy to find the goods and services we all need. With this ease, we have also seen an unfortunate rise in the number of scammers out there who are quick to take advantage of people. Our industry has certainly been one of the hardest hit by these fly-by-night companies. With names like 24 Hour Locksmith and phone numbers that route calls to answering centers, they’ll seem like you’re Knight in Shining Armor. What you’ll really end up with is someone who is untrained and is charging you a grossly inflated price from what you were quoted over the phone. Often they’ll tell you that your lock can’t be picked because it’s “high security”. Or maybe you call due to a safe lockout and you end up with an arm-sized hole in your expensive gun safe because they had no business performing these duties and only cared about separating you from your hard-earned money. This begs the question, what can you do to protect yourself from becoming the victim of these scams? One of the best things you can do is find a reputable locksmith before you really need one. Ask your friends, family or co-workers who they’ve used. Stop by your local lock shop and grab a card. This last step can be important because often times these companies will advertise an address where another business is located such as a dry cleaner or gas station.
Now, can all locks be picked or opened by non-destructive methods? Of course not. Take the Kwikset Smartkey cylinders as an example. These cylinders are designed to be highly pick resistant although they are not without their flaws. But that will have to be covered in another post. This is also not to say that there are not plenty of legitimate locksmiths out there who operate a mobile-only business. I know of plenty of honest technicians who are a one-man operation and can help you at an affordable price.
The bottom line is to educate yourself and avoid the locksmith scammer trap before you get stuck, or locked out, in an emergency situation.