Locksmith Plays Key Role in Home Invasion

Ever wondered what would happen if a burglar was creative enough to hire a residential locksmith and pose as the desperate homeowner locked out? There have been such cases when a locksmith received a desperate call and reached the spot in less than 15 minutes to become an unaware accessory to a break-in.


The time when a locksmith became an accessory during a break-in


Three years ago, there was a news article that cracked most people up, a locksmith was called upon by a burglar to help him break into a house. The twist here was that the locksmith ran to this poor man’s aid to help him get in not knowing that he was assisting a plausible attempted burglary. The incident came to light when the locksmith called the police when he grew suspicious.


The locksmith found something amiss when he let the ‘thief’ in. The suspect walked straight into the house and started rummaging through drawers in the excuse of finding ID proof and working keys.

The suspicious behavior triggered the internal alarm of the locksmith who began to contemplate contacting the Arlington County Police Department if the suspect failed to show proof of residence. When asked to show the photo ID proof repeatedly, the spooked out suspect fled.


There have been many such incidents where innocent locksmiths unknowingly played a key role in a home invasion. It actually is a tricky situation. Just imagine, if you are a locksmith and you are called to help a person who has been locked out and you see that person is desperate, you would obviously help him/her. The only way locksmiths can avoid such situations is by doing what they are trained to do.



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Trained locksmiths are taught to ask for proof of residence before they set to work. Although it is not mandatory to do so, it is a good practice nonetheless. Once the door is open and the caller still fails to produce acceptable proof, locksmiths call the police. Most veteran locksmiths reminisce to being stuck in such tricky situations and comment saying that all these incidents are domestic in nature.


Locksmiths do ask for proof of residence


Don’t be taken aback if you call a locksmith, and on arrival, you are asked to show proof of residence. Every professional locksmith is required to take the homeowners signature after completing the task of picking the front lock. In return, the locksmith will also present his/her ID and license.


There is, in fact, a business code which specifies that the locksmith must get the signature of the homeowner along with the address and telephone number. The client’s information will be recorded and filed. The checklist includes address, name, driver’s license or any ID number, date of birth and telephone number.


The most acceptable proof of residence is copies of bills with the same address with the owner’s name on it. A Chinese delivery receipt does not count as proof of ownership even if the name is on the bill.

12 Ways to Avoid Locksmith Scams

The phrase ‘better safe than sorry’ never loses its relevance. When it comes to finding a locksmith, it is better to have a few names at hand before the need to call upon them arises. The knowledge of locksmith scams has been around for decades. While this profession is most luring for those with questionable intentions, you cannot ignore the need of locksmiths. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), it is common for locksmiths to use similar names to ride on someone else’s popularity. So, the next time you find the need to call upon a locksmith, take the necessary precautions to avoid being a victim of a locksmith scam. The following suggestions will help you with that.


  1. Google it: Yes, Google is the most hacked-into search engine when it comes to placing fake companies, but it doesn’t hurt to look up the company. Type locksmiths near me and see the options that pop up and look for each one’s online presence. If the listed number goes straight to a recorded message call another service.
  2. Make a call: Call on them just to find out the basic information on where they are placed? What is the expertise they hold? Is the company insured? What name is the company registered under? Where is the technician placed? What is the preliminary estimation? If at any time the information seems evasive, the company is most likely a scam.
  3. Local telephone number: Is the listed number toll-free or local? Only local numbers are legitimate businesses.
  4. Demand for a written estimate: If the locksmith services deter from giving a written estimate, look for another safe locksmith.
  5. Extra cost: Ensure that you’re aware of the extra charges if any.
  6. License: 15 states require a practicing locksmith to carry their license at all times. If the locksmith has left his/her ID back in the office, find another locksmith.
  7. No to card payment: If a locksmith accepts only cash, it is surely a scam.
  8. Locksmith’s vehicle: Every company loves advertising. The same goes for locksmiths. The industry is so competitive that reputed locksmiths don’t pass an opportunity to brand their company. One common canvas for advertisement is the company cars. If the locksmith arrives in an unmarked car, it is a scam.
  9. Un-matching estimates: Ask for a second estimate before getting to work. If the estimate you received on the phone greatly varies from the one the locksmith gives, say thank you and look for another service.
  10. Vague answers on the phone: If the call is answered with a generic name like ‘locksmith services’ without providing a specific business name, become suspicious.
  11. Insurance: A reputable locksmith service is insured should they damage your property. Do not hire a company which is not insured.
  12. Can the work be done without damaging the lock: This is an important question to ask, more like a litmus test! If the locksmith is genuine, drilling or damaging the lock is generally the last option.