Angie's List: Locksmith scams on rise

Angie's List

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.
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