How do I know I’ve been scammed?
1. Bait-and-Switch Pricing: They will give you an incredible rate over the phone, often $15 or $29 for a lockout service (the going rates in Naples for real locksmith companies are more like $80-110 depending on the time of day). When the scammer arrives, the great low rate quoted is often inflated 10-30x on the invoice.
2. Unmarked Vehicle: These guys won’t show up in a marked locksmith vehicle. Often they will use their own personal vehicle, the tags many times are from out of state.
3. No Location: Their company website will probably have an address, but it will be fake. It could be an empty lot, a hotel, a storage unit, or even an apartment complex. Either way, there’s no place to walk into if you have a problem and probably no tracking down who ripped you off. Google Maps has been known to show the fake addresses of phony locksmiths, so just because it is on Google, doesn’t make it legitimate.
What can I do?
1. Just Say No: If they try to price-gouge you, just decline their service! You can say no or tell them you will only pay what was quoted over the phone. If you feel threatened, call the police.
2. Report It: Share your experience with the state’s attorney general, they have prosecuted locksmith scammers and shut down operations in other counties. Save the phone number you called, your invoice, and take pictures or notes of any “work” completed.
3. Write a Review: Locksmith scammers rack up tons of 5 star reviews by making fake profiles or paying random people to make them. If many of a company’s reviews are from people out of the local area or in another country, beware that those may be fake reviews. By adding negative reviews to fake locksmith profiles, you can help prevent other people in the community from being scammed.
How can I find a legitimate locksmith next time?
1. Brick and Mortar: Find a local locksmith that has an actual locksmith shop you can walk into. Visit the shop before you need a locksmith and program their phone number into your phone so you aren’t at risk of picking a bad locksmith. Our shop is across from Mercato in the Trek Bike plaza if you would like to pay us a visit!
2. Verify Memberships: Find a company that has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau or members of the Society of Professional Locksmiths, or ALOA. All of these organizations do research on their members and hold them to the highest standards of professionalism and ethics.
3. Look for Faces: Go through the website of the company you are looking at, are there pictures of their techs in marked uniforms? Scammers will use stock photography and won’t show the owner or who the techs are for fear of getting caught. Real local companies are proud of their team and will post their photos for your comfort and safety.