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  • Writer's pictureDavid O'Callaghan

Mr $45, The Prevalence of The Locksmith Scam Artist in 2024

Updated: Jul 6

Locksmith at work
Locksmith at work

In the locksmith industry, deceptive practices are unfortunately all too common, particularly among individuals known informally as "Mr. 45s." These operators initially lure customers with a seemingly low call-out fee of $45, only to engage in classic bait-and-switch tactics that result in exorbitantly high final bills. Typically, these scammers are transient workers employed by overseas companies operating illegally in Australia. They ensure their prominence with slick, professional-looking websites filled with stock photos and American English content, and will secure top spots in search engine results through paid advertisements.

When hiring a locksmith, it is critical to verify their legitimacy. Customers should request confirmation that the technician arriving will provide a security license upon arrival. If the locksmith is unable to produce a license and provides questionable excuses, it is advisable to politely ask them to leave, as there is no obligation to pay a call-out fee under these circumstances.

Over the years, numerous customers have shared their experiences with fraudulent locksmith practices. One common scam involves locksmiths who claim that a lock is beyond repair or cannot be rekeyed, urging the customer to purchase a new one. However, most locks can be rekeyed, which is a more economical and just as effective solution. Customers should ask the locksmith to demonstrate and explain why a lock supposedly needs to be replaced before continuing.

Another frequent issue arises with the misrepresentation of lock-picking capabilities. In some lockout scenarios, locksmiths incorrectly assess a standard lock as high-security and claim that it cannot be picked, suggesting instead that it needs to be drilled and replaced. This not only increases the cost significantly due to unnecessary replacement and labour but also misleads the customer about the nature of their lock.

Dubious locksmiths will often avoid providing a price quote over the phone. They claim that they need to inspect the lock in person, a tactic typically employed to manipulate the customer into agreeing to inflated prices once they are on-site and can gauge the customer's urgency.

If something feels off about a locksmith or the advice they offer, it is important to trust your instincts. Go with your gut and seek a second opinion. Ensure you deal with a licensed and reputable locksmith to avoid undue costs and maintain the security of your home or business.

David O'Callaghan

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