A helpless motorist is like catnip to a scam artist, and few motorists are as helpless as ones who have locked themselves out of their vehicles.
There’s a particular kind of fake locksmith who specialize in ripping off locked-out motorists.
According to (legitimate) locksmith network Pop-A-Lock, the scammers advertise online, offering lockout services at reasonable prices.
Typically, a motorist is pulled in by an offer to open a locked vehicle for around $49. When the motorist responds, and the “locksmith” arrives, the motorist is informed of additional fees that will have to be collected before the job can be done.
By this time, the motorist has been stranded for over an hour, and he/she feels desperate, and trapped. Usually, the motorist pays the additional charges.
These charges can add up to an extra $150, or more. It’s a classic bait-and-switch scam, and it happens all the time.
Pop-A-Lock points out that reputable locksmiths do not upcharge customers, and that $70 is a reasonable fee for unlocking a vehicle.
What’s worse, the phony locksmiths pulling this scam aren’t really locksmiths. This means that they are not accountable.
In some cases, people who refuse to pay the upcharges have been harassed.
So, if you are ever in this situation, take care that the people you call are legitimate. Even if you are in a hurry to get back to driving, take a few minutes to research the available options using your Smartphone.
Legitimate locksmiths should have positive Yelp or Google reviews, for instance. Of course, you could always contact Pop-A-Lock. They are legit, and have a nationwide network at your disposal.