If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is!
As a proud member of the MLAA, Wynns Locksmiths is in full support of the effort to better educate the public, and to make more people in Australia and New Zealand aware of such scam activities.
What's the scam?
The scam builds on the immediate need for an emergency locksmith e.g. after a consumer has lost the keys to their house, has locked the keys inside their car, has been burgled, etc.
Because of good positions (or prominent advertising) in the search results of Google the consumer finds what he believes is a legitimate locksmiths business page. Even though most of these scammer websites are .com domains (not .com.au) the content is optimised to appear as locally relevant as possible, featuring local maps, local copy and a local phone number.
The main “selling point” of the scammers is the very low price that is published in the search results and on the website.
When a consumer calls the phone number provided they usually get directed to a (foreign) call centre. This call centre then promises to send a “locksmith”. The person sent is usually unqualified, unskilled unlicensed and uninsured. They arrive in an unmarked vehicle, and they do not provide any identification. This person will pretend to try opening the door, but in most cases they will destroy the lock (and sometimes the whole door), before fitting a new, low-quality lock, and charging the consumer an exorbitant amount (in some cases up to $800).
Payment is demanded on completion of the job, and an illegal, unbranded invoice is provided. Instances of threatening and intimidating behaviour have been reported.