Sacramento Locksmith Scams

While it’s tough to verify, it’s likely there are more locksmith scams in America today than actual locksmiths. This becomes apparent quickly when searching for locksmiths on the internet. While Google has made efforts to filter out scams in general with their panda and penguin engines, they still accept money for Google Ads without needing much verification of a companies’ legitimacy. One common tactic locksmith scams use on Google is to buy up the most expensive Google Ads. The top tier Google Ads cost as much as $20 a click, but that’s small potatoes for many of these scam rings. Obviously this makes it tough on the little guys. Local locksmiths generally don’t have the monetary means to compete and have a hard time getting on page 3 or 4 of search engine results, let alone the coveted first page. And of course, scam companies take similar approaches with other search engines, such as Bing. locksmith_scams

When you land on a locksmith web page and see a local phone number, thinking they are a local company seems like a safe assumption. Unfortunately, many scam companies simply use remote call forwarding. All they have to do is call the phone company, get a local number set up, and have that number forward calls to a cell phone. Typically these scams are started by a group in a large city who get together and decide to start a nation wide locksmith service company. They get in all the phone books with the remote call forwarding numbers they’ve set up. They advertise lower prices and quicker response times than legitimate local locksmiths do, both of which they do not deliver on.

Once one of these companies get a call, they scramble to find anyone they can who will go out on the job. They often find technicians who are not licensed and uninsured. Typically, the technician they find will only get paid about half of what the scam company is charging the customer. The technician, in turn, will mark the price up in order to get their share. So in the end, not only is the customer is charged more than the initial estimate given, they are charged more than a legitimate locksmith would charge.

These scam companies can be very clever and have the resources to present themselves as the top locksmiths in your region. There are some red flags to keep an eye out for when trying to find the right locksmith for the job. For starters, these locksmith companies often try to present themselves as companies that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They also claim they can get to you in within 30 minutes no matter where you are, in cities throughout the country. Also, check for a locksmith licenses, or LCO number, legitimate locksmiths will usually post this information. If you see a local address, look it up on the online map of your choice, and go to street view. A number of these scam companies will find a shopping center in the area, and simply post the address of that center. You can go from one end of the shopping center to the other without seeing the locksmith company in question. Other times they’ll register a p.o. box and use that as a front for an actual office.

Raising awareness of these locksmith scams can feel like an uphill battle, but it needs to be done not only to protect local locksmiths, but customers in need of physical security services. For more information about locksmith scams, check out this article Seattle’s Komo News posted, or an article on locksmith cons posted here by NPR.

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Author: prolock

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