Popular Hamilton Locksmith Scams

Since opening Alpha Locksmith of Hamilton in 2012, a number of my customers have shared with me stories of how in the past they were scammed by a man posing as a locksmith or safe technicians in Hamilton, Ontario. In this blog post I will briefly discuss the five most popular scams perpetrated by these bogus technicians.

1. Lock Cannot Be Rekeyed

Rekeying or repinnning is the process of creating a new operating key for an old lock. This is done by cutting a new key and installing new pins in the lock cylinder or plug that correspond to the new key’s bitting or cuts. In my experience every pin tumbler lock cylinder can be rekeyed. There are some shady locksmiths however, that will tell you that your particular lock cannot be rekeyed and that if you wish to have a new key your lock will have to be replaced. They do this so that they can over charge you on an inferior lock and the labor it takes to install it, not to mention their service charge.

2. Lock Cannot be Repaired

Most deadbolts, lever- and knobsets, and entrance or grip sets can be repaired. In the case of a deadbolt, the pins, springs, and tailpiece can almost always be replaced. When it comes to lever- and knobsets, depending on the grade and manufacturer, broken parts can be replaced or serviced. Finally, for entrance sets, latches wear out, screws come loose, and springs break. All of these parts can often be replaced. Many less scrupulous “locksmiths” however, will not tell their customers this and will instead try to sell them on a new lockset for more money.

3. Lock Cannot be Picked

If you should find yourself locked out of your house – and make the mistake of calling one of the “locksmiths” at the top of the your search results page – when they eventually show up, there is a very good chance that they will look at your low security lock and tell you that you have a high security one and that it therefore cannot be picked and must be drilled. Again, this is done so that they can sell you on a new lock and labor and, let’s not forget, their service charge. (For an explanation and list of popular high security locks, please see our blog on the subject.)

4. No Quotes Over the Phone

Often when you call a fraudulent locksmith company after accidentally locking yourself out of your house or office and ask for a quote for getting back in, they will say that they cannot give you a quote over the phone because they need to see your lock first. They do this because they want to be able to tell you in person, after making you wait more then an hour for them to show-up, as often happens, that your lock cannot be picked and therefore must be drilled. They know that, after waiting more then an hour, you are desperate to get back in and that you know nothing about locks; if you did you would not have believed them when they said that they needed to see your lock first. So, like most customers in this situation, you agree to have your lock drilled.

5. Safe Has To Be Destroyed

When locked out of your safe, for whatever reason, a phony safe technician will tell you that your safe must be destroyed in order for it to be opened. While this is true of some low-end, electronic safes that do not have an override cylinder; most safes with electronic locks can be opened by drilling just one quarter-inch hole. Once this is done and the safe is open, a new lock can be installed. (For possible reasons for a safe lockout, please see our blog on the subject.)

I hope that the above will help you to avoid the bogus locksmiths working in the Hamilton area the next time you are locked our of your house, office, or safe; or need a lockset rekeyed or repaired.