Locked Out Of House? Beware Of The 24 Hour Locksmith Scam


24-Hour Locksmith Scam: How It Works

(with video below)

If you are locked out of your house or car, read this before calling anyone. Watch out for the Cheap Locksmith or 24 Hour Locksmith Scam (with video below). Hundreds of people are victimized daily all over the country. Don't get us wrong, most of the locksmiths are honest out there, but this scam is increasing nationwide as you're reading this. How does the scam work?

Watch the video below to see in action the 24 Hour Locksmith scam, exposed:


24 Hour Locksmith Scam Exposed

The scam works like this: Let's say you are in need of a locksmith and find an ad for a technician advertising services for "only $25". You hire them, but at the end of the service you're charged $450. When you try to argue they say the $25 is just the callout charge and doesn't include the labor. However, this labor suddenly becomes much more 'complicated' than it should be.

If you refuse to pay, they threaten to call the Police and even have the guts to ask you to go to an ATM to get cash out. There are cases when crooks even charge over $500.

The questionable locksmith quotes "$25 to come out plus labor and labor starts at about $10 for a basic lock". Once he arrives at the house, the "basic" lock turns out to be a 'high security lock'. This is their most favorite trick to pull. Their original price automatically increases a few times.

Most of the times the lock just needs to be picked, but the crooked locksmith might not tell you that. He only gives you the only "option" available to you. Telling you that the lock might be able to be drilled or pulled open. Of course, the lock will be useless to you at that point (they know this). The locksmith then says: "I may be able to drill it and replace it. I think I have a few extra ones in my trunk." Then he hits you with the whole $250 (or more) bill.

24 hour locksmith


Some of the other quotes a scammer might use are: "The lock is "high-security", "it is an unconventional lock", "it is an overseas lock and I can't recognize it", "it has been previously rekeyed to be "un-pickable", or "one of the pins is stuck".

Often these questionable locksmiths don't even have proper licenses.


24-Hour Locksmith Scam: How To Avoid

This scam is a classic 'Bait and Switch' scheme. Always settle the labor price when you call for a cheap locksmith service. On the other hand, don't be shy to ask for his license. Tell the contractor over the phone to bring it over when they come.

Any reputable locksmith should ask you for proof that you have permission to enter/break in. Don't sign anything they hand you unless they fill out the "Total" field in their receipt with the amount that they advertised.

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If he says he is going to use a bumpkey or an inflatable air wedge or a drill, chances are he is going to overcharge you. 

As mentioned, most of the locks should be easy to pick. A commercial lock requires more skill. It requires training and experience. As an example, a Quickset Smartkey deadbolt cannot be picked. It must be drilled.

On the other hand, if you are having your house rekeyed, ask to see ID of the locksmith and get a written quote before they begin working.  They could keep a copy of your new key and allow themselves into your house at any time or sell the key to criminals.

If the cheap locksmith you found online answers your phone call with a generic expression such as "locksmith services," be very wary. If they can't give a specific business name, look for a different one. Before having the locksmith come out, make sure you get information about any extra charges such as for mileage, service call minimums or emergency hours. Take a look at the locksmith's car; it should be marked, and get the license number.

If he insists on cash only, you know it's a scam. Also, cancel the job if he can't give you an estimate before starting to work on your lock.

cheap locksmith san antonio


Re-keying Scam

Usually, re-keying costs between $12 and $30 per keyhole/cylinder. Most locks have only one keyhole. Some locks are double sided (2 keyholes) and will count as two locks. Some companies have a service call/trip charge and possibly a minimum charge for coming out.

In the re-keying scam, they charge you for the new pins along with all the other charges. Replacing the 'pins' is what a re-keying job is. It's like buying a motorcycle from a dealer and the dealer charging extra for the headlight and the wheels.

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In a different variation of the trick, the locksmith gives a different price depending on how many pins are in the lock. Almost every basic lock has five pins. The scam comes when he tells you that he can't see how many pins there are on the lock and has to open it first.

Then he proceeds to inform you that if the lock has four pins, the charge will be only $12 to rekey it. If the lock has five pins it will be $65, and if it has six or more it will be $155.

Naturally, at this point you hope that it doesn't have more than six, right? The locksmith then takes the lock off the door, takes it apart, and says: "Oh, thank goodness, this lock is only a five pin lock. You just saved a bunch of money!" You are now so glad it wasn't a six pin lock and the $65 price plus all the 'other' fees sounds like a great deal. You even thank him for being a good man!

In the third variation of the scam, the locksmith say that the lock is broken and has to be fixed first. Call his bluff; your lock is not broken, if it worked before it certainly still works now. He just broke the lock on purpose just to make more money.


24-Hour Locksmith Scam: How To Report

Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report To The FTC Here


How to protect yourself more:

If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You'll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.


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selma hrynchuk
Selma HrynchukSelma is a fraud prevention specialist renowned for her expertise in private eye investigations and a remarkable partnership with law enforcement agencies. Beyond her investigative triumphs, her public speaking engagements and written works have empowered countless individuals to protect themselves and stay ahead of deceptive schemes. Selma's legacy shines as a tenacious agent of change, unyielding in her commitment to battling fraud and ensuring a safer world for all.

6 thoughts on “Locked Out Of House? Beware Of The 24 Hour Locksmith Scam”

  1. Thank you for the great article regarding Locksmith scams… visit [website] to see more tips to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a locksmith scam

  2. I got scammed today, all the idiot locksmith did was open my car door and I got charged 175 dollars! Help!

  3. to my best knowledge, concerning , Total Security Locksmith Owned by Ronen Depaz and Goldden Locksmith in the state of VIrginia, Washington DC and Maryland is basically a scam and both addresses are fake . Also to mention there calling headquarters is based in Haifa Israel, manager Michelle Depaz which she is the sister. So basically it’s a loop line. Ronen DEpaz hyjacked websites from other states, stole IP addresses back in 2008 and invested godaddy prome code to create lines through the hyjacked websites . Which indeed today it’s a lot more secured . Also ronen Depaz has six false addresses and tells customers "we are not a location" and one customer that I witness Evan drove to an address stating on the Arlington website at 2400 south Glebe road , did not even exsist! I was an employee of Golden Locksmith and Total Security locksmith and I have plenty of knowledge about the money business that the CEO Ronen Depaz started back in 2008. If there is anything else to mention I would be glad to answer.

  4. Detroit forever

    I did some research online and here is what other people reported as questionable companies and individuals related to Locksmith services. All these names and companies are listed on the ripsoff report page. Watch out for these sneaky companies, folks: Tiger Locksmith, Golden Locksmith Fairfax Virginia (Ronen De paz), Cape Cod Locksmith Barnstable, Local Locksmith Services in Phoenix, 24/7 All State Locksmith in California, King Locksmith in Texas, 24/7 Mobile Locksmith, America Locksmith Services, AMS Locksmith Harry in georgia, Locksmith Knoxville TN, 1 and Only Locksmith in New York, 24/7 Quick Pick Locksmith in Dobbs Ferry, Quick Locksmith 247.com in Los Angeles, Lock to Lock Locksmith in Sandy Springs, David’s Lock Service in Philadelphia, Prolocksmith 24/7, Miami Locksmith, United Locksmith services, Quick Pick Locksmith 8883000605, 247quickpick speedy locksmith in Portsmouth, 24/7 Atlanta Locksmith.

  5. In Canada its also a pain in the… Ive had a terrible experience with scam locksmiths. I didn’t knew any of these rules and phoned a random guy. When he came he drilled my lock without my permission (well, technically he told me he wants to bump it. That’s why he was drilling a hole). But then he said my lock was inserted in a wrong way so he had to remove it. I told him he could be on his way and gave him 20$. Then i called the other one and, luckily for me, he was a good one. Nevertheless, he explained what i did wrong: didn’t check for license, let him do his job though he didn’t look at my papers. Also he advised to speak about issue only with locksmith that should repair my house. Call center will tell you minimized price to hook you up. Only locksmith can tell you full price of his job (unless its a scam one). When he is rumbling about a license and don`t want to tell or show you his license its better to say "Goodbye" to this thief and try to find another one. If you have a locksmith association in your region try to call them or look at their website for a locksmith nearby.

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