SEATTLE — If you lock yourself out of your house or car you are likely in a hurry to get your door reopened and to get back inside.
But KOMO 4 News Consumer Problem Solver Connie Thompson says if you aren’t careful you could end up getting ripped off big time.
“You could end up paying double, triple or even quadruple what’s considered a fair price.” said Thompson.
The basic scam has been around for years, but thanks to the explosion of digital and social media, consumers are getting taken for a ride much more easily these days.
The Better Business Bureau of Western Washington says it starts the same way. You do a quick search online and select a locksmith at random, based on low advertised service call rates. You call what you think is a local number and the person on the other end of the line quotes you a reasonable price. Yet, when the locksmith arrives the prices goes way up- and because you’re desperate, you feel pressured to pay up.
“I’ve been told that sometimes they will threaten you, or even call the police on you for not paying a bill.” said Thompson. “Some of these guys will even demand cash, and urge you let them accompany you to an ATM to get the money.”
The BBB says many of these locksmiths aren’t even licensed with the state, as required by law. They use multiple, sound-alike names. They use multiple phone numbers that appear to be local, and they provide no legitimate addresses, making it even more difficult for regulators to track them down. Turns out many of the locksmiths aren’t even trained locksmiths and are linked to shady operations based in New York and other states. The state Attorney General is also logging complaints.
Coming up tonight on KOMO4 News at 11:00 p.m. Consumer Problem Solver Connie Thompson will share the very latest red flags so you can use to spot these guys before they take your money. Thompson also has some practical things you can do right now to ensure you always connect with a reputable locksmith when you need one.