Consumers: Beware of Scammers posing as Locksmiths!

These rip-off-artists masquerading as locksmiths are out-of-state companies that manage to get local and 800 telephone numbers and list them in the phone book as if they are located in your town. They list phony addresses. They list so many company names and phone numbers that a call to Information (411) will likely get you one of these fraudulent companies. These companies, often unlicensed and operating illegally, end up charging people who call them many more times what local, legitimate locksmiths charge for services. This is happening in cities all over the US.

A scammer company will usually ask for your zip code first, since they are a dispatching service out of state, likely in New York or Florida, and need to figure out what state and city a customer is calling from. On lockout calls (their favored jobs) they show up armed only with a drill and tell you the lock can't be picked. They drill the lock and replace it with a low-grade one.

They may tell you up front it's a $65 service call, then when they write out the bill, it could be for $265 or more (in one case over $1,700). They may offer a price break if you pay cash and will accompany you to an ATM. DON'T PAY. CALL THE POLICE. Then, file a complaint with your State Attorney General's office (, the Better Business Bureau and the licensing bureau in your state (AL, CA, IL, LA, NJ, NC, OK, TN and TX). If there is not locksmith licensing in your state please contact your legislators and voice your concern.

Always ask to see a locksmith's license and/or identification (most locksmiths carry trade association ID), get a price quote before work is started, and get an itemized receipt when the work is completed.

More information may be found at the Locksmith Wiki Knowledge Base.

FTC Consumer Alert - The Keys to Hiring a Reputable Locksmith


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