Phony locksmiths ripping people off with bait-and-switch pricing

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Phony locksmiths who populate the top of search results pages are ripping people off with outrageous bait-and-switch pricing.

Picture this: You lock yourself out of your car. You misplace the keys for your home or apartment. Or a key breaks off in a lock at your business. What do you do? You reach for your phone and just do a Google search for a locksmith.

‘Any job $20. Guaranteed arrival in 20 minutes or less.’ Sounds great, right? Wrong!

Read more: Best and worst door locks for your money

A look at the fake locksmith scam

Our senior producer Kim was in need of a locksmith once and almost fell for one of these cons. She found a listing on her phone that had the above pitch. When the guy showed up, two hours later, he wanted to charge her $350!

These people are just cons. If you are in an emergency situation, go to Yelp and look for locksmiths with multiple reviews; just don’t mistakenly click on the ads!

If you’re a business, it’s even better to develop a relationship with a locksmith you know and trust before you’re in a desperate situation. Clark says he’s been with the same locksmith for at least a couple decades now.

Just know that you’re not going to get somebody to show up in 20 minutes and do the job for $20!

Here are a few additional tips from the Better Business Bureau to help you weed out the scams:

  • If you call a number and all they say is, ‘locksmith,’ but no official name — that could indicate you’re dealing with a sketchy player.
  • Get a complete iron clad quote over the phone. Have it sent to you by text message so there’s no question later.
  • Ask for identification from any individual who comes purporting to represent a particular locksmith.

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