ing, check with the building owner or
management for a contact. Both the
Association of Locksmiths of America
(ALOA) and the Society of Professional
Locksmiths ( sopl.us) certify locksmiths
and provide a member search tool online.
When it comes to your vehicle, make
sure you have a roadside assistance plan
for lockouts. You have different options
when it comes to roadside assistance, and
what you choose depends on your personal situation. Roadside assistance
could be included with a leased or purchased vehicle or offered as a technology
feature, it may be offered as an add-on to
your auto insurance policy, your credit
card or cellphone company may provide
options, or you can join an auto club or
try an app that offers on-demand service.
Overall, compare costs and pay attention
to terms and conditions, restrictions and
exclusions. If you are not familiar with
how a company vets the locksmiths it
sends out, ask for more information.
Scams can be a
challenge for both
by AMANDA HOROWITZ
hen you need a locksmith, you
might go online to find one.
But be careful you don’t get
duped by a scam, which
harms consumers and damages the
reputations and bottom lines of legiti-
Here is how the scams generally
work: Scammers create phony online
locksmith ads to attract real calls. The
ads typically tout a low-price service
call—for example, ;;; or ;;;. The
address they use may be fake or belong
to another business or location. When
you call, you are connected to a call center that dispatches unqualified workers.
When a worker shows up, they say the
job will cost much more than the estimate you were quoted and want you to
pay in cash.
Costco member and locksmith Troy
Pourmoghadam says, “People have spent
;;,;;; on ;;;; worth of locks because
they don’t know any better.” He says that
variations of both his business and
domain name were used online to trick
consumers. James Steffen, general manager of East Cooper Lock & Safe, says the
business was the victim of a phone scam
targeting local clients—the company's
name was linked to a crook’s phone number in a false online ad. Locksmith and
Costco member Willie Gamble adds that
scammers have stolen his business name
and information as well.
To avoid online locksmith scams, it’s
best to find a locksmith before you need
one. Depending on where you live, ask
people you know and trust—your neighbors, friends or family—for a referral. If
you live in a condo or apartment build-
© INX TI / SHUT TERSTOCK
A T T
Key online tips
• Get details about a
locksmith’s license, registration
and insurance. ALOA’s website
( aloa.org) has information
about state licensing on its
“Legislation” page. You can
also check with your state and
local consumer protection
o;ce for information.
• When the locksmith
arrives, confirm a final price in
writing on business letterhead
before any work begins. Make
sure to get a receipt on busi-
ness letterhead that includes
a description of parts, services
and the locksmith’s address
and phone number.
• Pay with a credit card so
you have a dispute option.
• Call the police if a locksmith threatens or intimidates
A qualified locksmith can
make recommendations on
choosing physical and
electronic lock systems
for one’s home.
is a writer, businesswoman and owner
of Fight Back! She is
the daughter of Fight
Back!’s founder, David
Horowitz. Fight Back!
has received multiple
Emmy Awards and
over 400 awards
from government and
citizen groups and
has helped to draft
over 50 pieces of
legislation in America.
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