PHONY "LOCKSMITH" ALERT
There are plenty of honest LOCKSMITHS in Fort Collins, but increasingly, we are being taken advantage of as consumers and business owners by a new breed of scammers, The Phony Locksmith!
Phony "Locksmiths" have inundated the printed phone books and internet with false advertising, prompting you to call them based on promises of cheap service. Not all, but many 800 numbers typically accompany these ads which are not for real local Locksmith Businesses, but actually out of State call centers that route calls to planted local scammers to be dispatched to you for the agreed upon “reasonable” service charge. As well, they have preyed upon internet sites that utilize maps to help locate businesses by hijacking addresses and using them as their own.
You Want HOW MUCH?
Unbeknownst to the customer, the price quoted on the phone was only for getting to the vehicle or home for the lockout. Once a vehicle has been entered, they may grab the keys off the seat or out of the ignition and retain them while they are conveying the newly inflated charges to you, based on the fact that the amount quoted on the phone to open your 2002 Jeep Liberty was to just get there to the vehicle. They now want an additional $100.00 to $150.00 for actually opening the car. Remember the keys the scammer snatched out of the car earlier? “You’re not getting your keys until I get my cash”. These phonies will use intimidating tactics and threats to get you to pay.
Beware of the call center that presents themselves with generic business names like:
- “Lock out Service”
- “24hr Locksmith”
- “Locksmith Service”
Ask them what their Legal Business name is.
Does it all add up?
When you call, find out where they’re located. Are they a Mobile Locksmith with a vehicle that is outfitted with all required tools and hardware to perform the job you need? Are they insured and bonded? When the Locksmith arrives, are they in a company lettered service van or just a car? Are they in uniform? Do they have their company credentials? Did they present you with a business card? A legitimate Locksmith should be able to answer these questions for you without hesitation.
Scammers want to keep a low profile. They don’t want you to know who they are or where they’re from, so you may not see any of these things. Remember, if you are uncomfortable at any point you don’t have to let them work on your vehicle or home. Go with your gut instinct, it’s usually right.
The best thing you can do for yourself is be proactive. Probably 75% of the calls I receive are for emergency service. The customer is going down the list calling numbers out of the phonebook, a laptop or smart phone. The best thing is to find your Locksmith of choice before you have your emergency.
Find that Locksmith through referrals from friends and making some calls. Once you find that Locksmith, write that number down and stick it in your purse or wallet.970 224-3533, Put it in your cell phone!