The internet alone contains many locksmiths involved in rogue trading. They may have little or no knowledge in master key cutting or lock picking. However, they are willing to take a quick buck overcharging for a job or, even worse, stealing, scamming using more sinister methods such as identity fraud or key duplication.
The UK news has reported that in the past, rogue locksmiths target specific areas to concentrate upon before moving on the next potential target.
Bait & Switch
The locksmith gets the booked job due to their promise of a low price.
Many sites recommend not to fall for a quote that seems too cheap – so when browsing online think rationally about how much a locksmith could realistically minimally charge, after time, petrol, tax and national insurance are paid for and before any charge for specialist skills and any spare parts. If it’s too good to be true – it usually is!
‘Bait and Switch’ is a term used more in the US but this technique is being copied this side of the Atlantic.
The rogue Locksmith, upon securing the job, will likely says it will involve much more intense labour – charging the customer way over the odds than they would have done with an initially higher-priced reputable and legitimate locksmith.
Depending on the individual, this can be an intimidating proposal out of the blue.
Most Locksmiths specify online whether they will expect cash, but this is rare as most tradesmen operate using an invoicing technique to allow for emergencies
Although you may prefer to pay in cash, remember that not keeping a record or receipt it can risk your normal statutory rights as a person paying officially for a trade and service.
This scam is self-explanatory – The locksmith carries out your key cutting or lock change, but makes a new duplicate key for themselves to access, or send another person to access your personal items. This may be soon or a few months after the lock change to avoid suspicion.
This could risk your security at home, your car, office, shed, garage, etc., so arrange insurance for personal items and burglary.
Locksmiths can overcharge by advising you incorrectly on the type of replacement pin key you require. The highest number and expense is a six-pin lock, which is over twice the price of a five pin, so for a bigger, multiple lock change job this could amount to a few hundred pounds difference.
Check the type of locks you have online so you are more knowledgeable in the time of an emergency.
Drilling Off Your Door Handle
Scamming Locksmiths will often destroy the entire door lock by drilling it off before you even have the chance to question the work. They know there is no choice but to replace the whole lock if the door is without a handle!
This will cost at least double the amount than just a pin replacement, and possibly more due to the extensiveness and invasiveness of handle replacement. Most skilled Master Locksmiths can normally unpick and unlock any door without having to resort to drilling.
A serious crime, Identity Fraud is alive and well in the UK and beyond. A rogue Locksmith given access to your home could steal and/or sell your information. Having any route to your private papers/identification cards could create a disaster. Protect your passport, driving license, credit and debit cards and documents that are necessary regarding your finances.
For more information about Licenced Locksmiths check out national guidelines here: http://www.locksmiths.co.uk/about/trade/mla-sectors/
KC Locksmiths are the most reputable, highly rated and reviewed company in the UK. Covering Worthing at an extremely reasonable price, they offer a quote that is non-obligatory after call-out so there are no hidden fees. They also offer a highly-techl key-cutting service and a 24/7 call out to ensure your peace of mind.