Frequently Asked Questions
What is a locksmith?
To put it simply, a locksmith is a professional who is trained in creating and dismantling locks.
Unfortunately, not every locksmith advertised is worth hiring. Some advertisements may actually be trying to scam you. Sometimes a business from outside your local area will place an add using a name similar to a local locksmith. When you call them in, they’ll show up in an unmarked car and ask for more money than what was originally quoted to you. He may use intimidation tactics to try to get more money or insist that you pay him in cash. Chances are good he doesn’t have any professional training.
There are several things you can do to make sure that the locksmith you use is a reputable one. First of all, when you call the number, listen to what is said by the person who answers the phone. If they give you a specific business name, that’s a point in their favor. If they say something evasive like “locksmith service,” that’s not a good sign. Try to get them to give you the name of their business. If they refuse, go with someone else. When on the phone, ask for an estimate on how much the service will cost. If the price you hear later isn’t close to your estimate, refuse to use that service. Keep an eye on the address listed for the company. Some scammers will list a false local address in order to appear more legitimate. Finally, make sure to ask the locksmith for identification when he arrives. Check to make sure that the company on the invoice is the same on the car or van and on the locksmith’s business card.
Absolutely! Your locksmith wants to make sure that you really are the owner of the house or car that he’s unlocking. If this was not a common practice, less than honest people would have no problem getting into places that you would rather they wouldn’t: all they’d have to do is call a locksmith and they could go wherever they wanted! A legitimate locksmith will ask for your identification, so be sure to expect it. If he’s willing to get you into a locked area without knowing who you are, you might want to reconsider hiring him in the first place.
Chances are that it will not have to be replaced. The sophistication of the equipment most reputable locksmith’s use allows them to open nearly every lock. If you’re told that your lock is beyond repair and will need an expensive, time consuming replacement, think twice. Though there are certainly times when drilling is necessary, if the so-called locksmith immediately recommends drilling the lock (which will likely destroy it), it should be a red flag. This is a common trick used by scammers to get more money out of you.
In non-emergency situations, it’s a great idea to do some background research on a potential locksmith. Check in with your state’s Attorney General or the local Better Business Bureau. These resources will let you check to see if there are any complaints about a particular locksmith on file. This can be done over the phone, or in some cases online. Don’t be shy about doing this – if you’re allowing someone access to your car and your home, you want to make sure they’re worthy of the trust you’re putting in them.