Beware of the ” Edmonton Mobile Locksmith Scammers “
The Locksmith community all over Canada & the US has coined terms like “Local Edmonton Mobile Locksmith Scammers” for a phenomenon that appears to involve persons impersonating a mobile locksmith for the purpose of extorting money from people in a time of distress.
The term has been so coined because of the fact that the “scammers” utilize internet services to appear local and gain an advertising advantage targeting a specific service need – lockouts.
How the ” 24 7 Locksmith in Edmonton ” Scams Work.
In a typical episode, a person who has accidentally locked him or herself out of a home, (searches online) calls directory assistance and simply asks for the number of the nearest Edmonton Locksmith. Through the advertising genius of Google, Telus, etc., a company can pay a fee to ensure their telephone number comes up first in just such a situation, and that phone number is conveyed by the 411 operator (or search engine). The consumer, believing he or she is calling a legitimate local company, unwittingly calls a call center thousands of kilometers away and receives a very reassuring promise, such as “We’ll be there in 20 minutes and the fee will be $20.”. Believe it or not, some people have waited 4-5 hours for someone to fulfill that promise. When an “Locksmith from Edmonton” arrives, usually in a personal vehicle with out-of-province license plates, he doesn’t even try to pick the locks. Instead, he explains that the locks are a high security model and cannot be picked. He will have to drill the locks and replace them. The price is exorbitant.
How much does this “Emergency Locksmith in Edmonton” charge?
Reports have been made of anywhere from $300-$900 to drill open and replace 2 locks that retail for less than $100 and are easily picked by any competent locksmith. Many accounts include reports of intimidation tactics used by the phony locksmith to coerce a consumer who is already in distress. In Alberta, we have a measure of protection not available everywhere. Locksmith firms and workers are required to obtain a license to offer locksmith services, under the Security Services & Investigators Act (SSIA), and produce this license on request. In order to obtain and keep a license, a locksmith must either be a Journeyman or registered Apprentice. Measures are in place to ensure registered Apprentices complete their apprenticeship within a reasonable period of time.
How to Protect Yourself From The Mobile Edmonton Locksmith Scammers.
While it’s relatively easy for a firm to obtain a corporate license under SSIA, it’s a different matter for them to supply individual licenses for their “Locksmiths”. It’s also an easy matter for consumers to ask to see a license and refuse work based on the lack of one. All that’s really needed is for consumers to be aware.
SSIA includes a mechanism for consumer complaints. While they don’t entertain complaints regarding technical competence, pricing or promptness, they are very interested in complaints about conduct. A complaint about a worker should be directed to the company in question. That company is required to file a complaint resolution report to SSIA within a couple of days. A complaint about a company should be made directly to SSIA using their form, found online here.
Why the Local Edmonton Mobile Locksmith Scam Works.
The “Edmonton Mobile Locksmith” scheme takes advantage of the simple fact that nobody plans for emergencies such as lockouts. People who use the services of a certified Edmonton locksmith regularly, have a good idea who they’d call in a lockout emergency. But it’s surprising how many people manage to go through life without ever meeting a locksmith: getting spare keys cut at the mall kiosk or the hardware store (Please, go to a locksmith! We actually know how to adjust & maintain the machines we use. We also have to use the keys we cut so we make sure they’re done right.), buying new locks instead of having locks re-keyed, buying locks off the hardware store shelf (assuming they must be good or they wouldn’t be there) and so on.
For those people, finding the right locksmith is as easy as going to www.plaa.org and clicking the “Find a Locksmith” button. You’ll find a list of our corporate members, organized by city/town. We guarantee none of those scammers are among our membership.
Remember, in Alberta, locksmiths are:
1) Licensed under SSIA and should be able to produce a license on demand. Find out more at www.securityprograms.alberta.ca.
2) Trained in an AIT-approved & funded Apprenticeship program. For more: www.rdc.ab.ca/locksmith
3) Organized, i.e.; the Professional Locksmiths Association of Alberta, an association that provides news on trends & best practices, upgrade training and networking through such vehicles as a newsletter, periodic member meetings and an annual convention & trade show that is the envy of Canadian Locksmith associations.