A news station in North Carolina was actually able to successfully uncover an unlicensed locksmith operation on hidden camera. The news team set up a series of cameras at a woman’s house who then called a notoriously deceptive locksmith company to come and unlock her door. Here is a look at the news story:
Locksmith Scammers Caught on Tape
It is rare that we get to see such an egregiously deceptive scheme on camera. From the beginning the supposed “locksmith” who shows up on the scene seems to be a little fishy since he shows up in an unmarked van and with out uniform or identification. While many locksmiths are companies and technicians are sometimes forced to come from their home at odd hours it is unlikely for a real locksmith to not have some form of identification on him.
Some people question why there may have been two men who came to the house and whether that was a sign that this was a deceptive locksmith scheme. The fact that their were two men is not that odd since locksmithing is a trade there are time where a licensed locksmith with bring along an apprentice to observe him as he works.
Perhaps the worst part of the video is when the man says he is forced to drill the deadbolt out. Just by watching the video a licensed locksmith would be able to tell that the deadbolt did not have to drilled. The customer stated that her keys were inside of the house and that it was a standard deadbolt meaning that it would have been impossible to even lock the deadbolt itself, since you have to use a key from the outside to lock yourself out from a deadbolt.
The issue for any professional locksmith is that pricing over the phone can be difficult depending on the amount of information that the customer has. Most locksmith services charge a service charge from around $19-$40, in order to cover the mobile part of the service including the technicians time, any automotive costs to arrive on scene and his expertise to diagnose the problem when on scene. This can make a professional locksmith seem deceptive but there is a main difference.
A professional locksmith, when he arrives on scene, will diagnose the entire issue and then give you pricing for each possible service before attempting to complete any of them. The truth is for high security locks and labor intensive lock outs can reach around $200 but a professional locksmith will be able to tell you this from the start rather than waiting until they have completely finished the service.
The most important part of trying to figure out if a locksmith is legit is to check for a license and to trust your instincts. If a locksmith who comes out seems shady and deceptive such as the man in the video put an end to the service then to prevent any unnecessary charges. In Pennsylvania, for a locksmith to operate they do not need to be licensed by law however in other states such as North Carolina a license is required. So the most important thing is to trend lightly. If there is a locksmith who attempts to do something like this to you it would be best to ask the locksmith to leave, even if you are still forced to pay a service fee and then call a locksmith which offers more specific pricing. Even if you are required to pay a $40 service fee for the scammer and then are able to get a real locksmith on scene to complete the service for around $100, if this woman had been scammed without the help of the news station she would have been able to save $250 even though she was still had to pay the previous service fee.