How To Protect Against Scams Of Locksmiths In The Chicago Area
Recent years had seen more and more numbers of reported cases of scams and fraud in Chicago that somehow involves a locksmith. While many locksmiths are upstanding members of society who perform their job with dignity, professionalism and honor, there are many unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of the trust that customers give to their locksmiths. These fraud cases and scams range from agencies (and dummy businesses) hooking clients with incredibly low offers only to pile charges upon charges once the service had been made to burglars pretending to be locksmiths just so they can break into the customer’s home or car later.
Using the profession in fraudulent behavior is quite attractive to crooks because people usually entrust their most valuable safety and security details to locksmiths. Just imagine: a locksmith probably knows the ins and outs of all their clients’ multi-level security systems and can probably defeat those locks and systems given enough time and if he has bad intentions.
Of course, those scams should not succeed in ruining the reputation of the locksmithing profession altogether and in scaring people away from contracting the services of honest, hardworking, legitimate locksmiths. What people must do, however, is to guard against fraudsters and to prepare for instances when crooks are trying to victimize them. Here are some tips for people to protect themselves against locksmith scams.
* Do your research. It is easy to find locksmiths and locksmith agencies online, which makes it harder to spot the crooks. The first tip to avoiding the rotten ones is to do tons of research about the companies or individuals. Make sure that they have licenses. Do not contract the services of an unlicensed locksmith or agency. Look the locksmith or agency up with the State of Illinois’ Division of Professional Regulation (DPR) to see if they really are licensed, which means that their professional, technical skills are up to par with the guidelines set by the state’s Private Detective, Private Alarm, Private Security, Fingerprint Vendor, and Locksmith Act of 2004 and the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
* Remember: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Do not be fooled by advertised super-low rates. Those are usually just hooks meant to bait customers who then become victims to scams. Find a locksmith or agency whose rates are within the standard fees for the services that are required.
* Ask for a firm quotation, in print. Once you call a locksmith or locksmith agency, do not assume that its advertised rates will be final. Ask for a printed quotation properly signed by the authorized personnel. Keep a copy of this price quotation, for reference later in the transaction. If the locksmith or agency refuses to give one, they can be reported to the DPR.
* Get a second opinion. Call other locksmiths or agencies, just to see if the quotations are comparable and to ensure that no one is being played.
* Ask for identification. Before letting anyone work on your locks and with your keys, ask for proper identification, their license, and their work permits – all required in Chicago, as per DPR guidelines. If a locksmith cannot present the proper identifications, do not contract his services.
* Get a printed quotation after inspection of security system and before service is rendered. To make everything clear, ask the locksmith to inspect the problem and give a firm quotation on materials and services needed.
* Do not give in to bullying or blackmail. If at the end of the service call, the locksmith suddenly overcharges, do not pay up. If the locksmith threatens to call in the police to sue you for “theft,” state your rights and request that your charges be reviewed. If the locksmith threatens with violence, pay with a credit card to make sure he leaves and does not cause harm, then immediately call the credit card company to reverse the charges.