Here is how the RunLocal & 24/7 locksmith scam works before you get scammed! (For more and the latest locksmith scam stories, click here.)Many “locksmiths” in the phone book or online are scam artists. Their call center will call them “technicians” and will quote you a extra low price like $15-20 PLUS LABOR, and on every occasion, when they arrive, they’ll say you have a special lock or “high-security” lock they can’t pick, so they have to drill it open. Then they charge $125+ for a replacement lock you could just buy at Home Depot for $13. Some threaten liens filed against your property if you do not pay because you already signed their invoice before work. Do not sign anything before work is complete or it is a scam! Additionally on some cars they do not want to open/make keys for, they blame “high-security” locks and leave you stranded.
Below is a fictitious narrative that may be eerily familiar. We hear about these situations far too often:It was 10:30pm and John closed the door to his car outside of the grocery store – thud! Quickly turning around, John saw the outline of his keyring on the seat of his car. Frustrated and in a hurry to get his groceries home, luckily John has his cellphone to his disposal. Turning on his phone, he says, “SIRI, I need a locksmith.” SIRI shows him several of the closest companies to him. There is one not even 1 mile away! John calls the local number and reaches a friendly ladies voice on the line. He explains his situation and she cordially explains that there is a locksmith close (within 15minutes she says) and the price seems like an amazing bargain. ”I guess it is less than I thought because I’m so close to their shop”, john thinks to himself silently. After waiting 45minutes, John starts to feel annoyed. He calls the number back, and gets another nice individual on the phone that tells him the locksmith is running late. He is told the locksmith will be just a few more minutes. Eventually after waiting over an hour-and-a-half, a Honda Civic pulls up and a guy wearing sandles and a ambercrombe t-shirt introduces himself as the “Locksmith”. He explains the charges to unlock his car and the price on the receipt slip is not just a little more, its more than 10 times the price originally quoted by the person on the phone. Before the “Locksmith” will begin work, John has to sign and agree to the charges. At this point, John thinks, “I might as well pay him, because if I call someone else, I won’t get home until after 1am.” Reluctantly John signs and the “Locksmith” does the work of unlocking his car. John asks, “Can I at least get another copy of the key, so if this happens again, I can open my car without waiting?” The “Locksmith” answers, “No, this key is High-Security. No one can copy this key. If you want another, the dealership is the only one that can help you.” This is when the locksmith is handing over the bill for the work. Not only are the charges written that John has agreed upon, but even more charges were written in after the car was opened. Furious, John is about to not pay. The “locksmith”, however, grabbed his keys and is holding them hostage. Then another zinger happens. Now the “locksmith” tells him it is $285 with those pesky extra charges and its CASH ONLY. John is about to punch the guy. The “locksmith” says, “lets go in my car and we’ll go to the ATM so you can get me money.” John rides to the ATM in the “locksmiths” car and gets out $300. He hands over the $300 and the “locksmith” doesn’t have ANY change. So he pockets the $300 and drops John off at his opened car, with spoiled groceries and 2 hours spent. * Most legitimate locksmiths have equipment and keys and usually can make spares ON SITE for a nominal fee. To avoid this happening to you, ALWAYS find a reputable locksmith and if you’re in an unfamiliar area, use www.findalocksmith.com to get in touch with REAL locksmiths who have years of training, certification and arebackground checked for theft & fraud. Questions or comments call us or visit www.aloa.org today!