There are many types of "Scammers" out there in the service industry. There are contractors that try to dupe or trick you into signing a contract and hook you into a long-term expensive mistake. There are slick salesmen and con artists who sell you a new roof or paved patio and end up installing garbage that cracks or falls apart.
There are scammers in the Locksmith Industry as well. With a recent scammer successfully prosecuted by the Colorado Attorney General in Englewood Colorado, we would like to post a few tips on finding a local locksmith who is both a legitimate trained professional, and trustworthy.
- Make certain the number you are calling is Local not an 800 number. Many scammers post ads in phone books, online, and in newspapers advertising as local. If the number is an 800 number this is not so. Answering the phone with a generic "Locksmith." is also a bad sign.
- Ask what Trade organizations they belong to, the BBB is not enough. They should be members of local or national Locksmith organizations and you need to call to verify this. Legitimate business people will join professional trade organizations, con artists will not.
- Ask about service charge, mileage, and any hidden fees. Legitimate locksmiths have overhead and will sometimes charge based on distance, type of service to be performed, urgency, and time of day. They will let you know these rates when you call but you have to ask. A scammer will tell you "$50 covers everything!", then charge you an exorbitant rate upon showing up.
- Ask if they offer free estimates on the job site, not over phone. Legitimate locksmiths will give you a free estimate for an expensive or sensitive service. They will come take a look, produce a written estimate, then email or fax it to you. Scammers will not take the time to do this. Written estimates are truly an estimation, but in general a pro will do their best to stay within a reasonable amount and will notify you of cost changes right away.
- Look at their BBB record and check online for any complaints doing a search on Google, Yahoo, or other engine. If there is either no online record of this company, or if they have terrible marks from reviews go with someone else. Another good resource for quality of work is to ask them for photos or videos of their work. They may not have any, but someone concerned about their reputation will find a way to get you what you ask for.
- Verify the locksmith is licensed in the state you are in. Not all states require this, but locksmiths generally will have either attended a recognized school, or distance learning program and will have a diploma to prove it. In states where licensing is required check to make sure their license is up to date and in good standing.
- Make sure they are Bonded, Registered, and Insured in your area. A bonded locksmith definitely has an interest in his reputation and will show you proof of a bond. Insurance is also a good sign that the locksmith is legit and interested in protecting his business for the long term. Scammers will hit an area or city hard and move on when the heat is on. Usually simply asking for proof of a bond or insurance will send them running. A reputable locksmith will have also registered with the state or city, and have a business license in good standing. You can usually check this easily by phone or online.
- Ask for customer phone numbers for a referral to make sure the work they do is good, and that they were charging fair rates. Sometimes this can be embarrassing but it is your security in the end and you need to make sure that your business or home is safe. Most locksmiths have a list of happy customers they regularly work with, and will provide phone numbers for you. A locksmith unwilling to provide a referral is probably not whom you want to do business with.
If you follow these tips, you should be able to find a good trustworthy locksmith locally who is both professional and a legitimate business owner. These tips apply across the spectrum with most other service trades. There are scammer electricians, plumbers, and HVAC workers out there who will rip you off and install poorly working or possibly dangerous systems. People who will be inside your business and especially your home should always be checked out prior to work performed. Here are some helpful links for finding a reputable and trustworthy locksmith in Colorado:
Check the business Colorado state license status -
Finding a local Locksmith Service (free) Just enter state –
Finding a Colorado Locksmith through a reputable service –
Making a complaint FTC - https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/
Making a complaint about a business in the State of Colorado -
Rocky Mountain Security Group