A few years back, we conducted an undercover sting operation of scam locksmiths in the Cincinnati area. After our investigation, those scammers disappeared.
But a new report now finds that phony locksmiths are showing up again.
Angie's List: Complaints are up
Locksmith scams are making a comeback, according to a new report from our partners at the consumer guide Angie's List.
Angie's List reports a new surge in complaints about locksmiths charging far more than they quote on the phone.
Barry Campbell, a legitimate locksmith, explained that "they usually show up, tell you it's a high security lock, they have to drill it, drill the thing off. They will use pliers, everything else, and tear the lock off. Then charge you a fortune."
3 years ago, one Northern Kentucky woman told me how easy it is to fall for these, from ads online or in the Yellow Pages.
"They quoted me over the phone $39," Heather Slavey said. "But when they got there, they had an additional charge of $110."
Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List, says while these locksmiths may have local names, and even a local phone number, they are not.
"Consumers call what they believe to be a local locksmith, only to find out it's been routed to a national call center, and the locksmith does not deliver on time or on budget," Hicks said.
She says what you get is a locksmith who will hold your home or car hostage until you pay his inflated fee.
How to protect yourself
If you are locked out and need to call a locksmith, ask where they are located: It may be a call center in New York City or Florida.
A 513 or 859 area code is not enough to guarantee they are in the Cincinnati area.
As always, don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
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