Recently, 7News presented a report on a locksmith scam operating in Brisbane. Although the report was focused on Queensland, Melbourne’s locksmith community are just as easily targeted. This week, we decided to talk to you about the scam and what you can do to protect yourself against illegal locksmiths in Melbourne.

The Scam

7News report that backpackers in Brisbane have been posing as locksmiths. Unlicensed, these scammers have been advertising online flat call-out fees to perform lock repairs, key cutting and mobile locksmith services without proper registration. 7News state that the scammers have been operating in Brisbane since December and may have been posing as locksmiths in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra for longer. With Deception regularly featuring in our Suburbs in Focus Top Five Offences, this report is a timely reminder to protect yourself from scammers.

 In the video, the scammers were unlicensed, arriving on the job without an accreditation, uniform or company truck. These are all warning signs that your tradesman is not who he says he is. Whenever our mobile locksmiths turn up for a job, they will be uniformed, in a registered, signposted Amalgamated Locksmiths van, and will be ready to show you their licence. You can also call our head office to confirm their identity. Security is any locksmiths’ #1 concern and no locksmith, in Melbourne, Brisbane or anywhere else, should make you feel unsafe.   

The Risk

The scammers are unlicensed. This means that they are not registered with the state as competent, trained, or professional locksmiths. Registered, licensed locksmiths undergo police and security checks to make sure they are trustworthy and reliable. When we hire a new locksmith in Melbourne, we perform our own checks as well, to make sure that your Amalgamated Locksmith is who they say they are.

The scammers are unqualified. Even if they manage to gain access to your property, there is no guarantee that the work they do will be of a professional standard. Having an unskilled or unqualified person repair or replace a lock may do more damage. Either deliberately or negligently, an illegal locksmith may compromise your security.

What You Need to Know

In the report, although the scammers charged a flat-out call fee, after the job, their victims were hit with an additional bill. Before any work is done, you should know how much it will cost. This is why we provide all our clients with a free on-site quote before we start work.

The scammers claim that you do not need a license to open a lock. This is false. Under Section 6 of the Private Security Regulations Act 2016, anybody who is employed to install, repair, service or maintain security equipment must be registered as a Security Equipment Installer. Before anybody does any work on your home or business, ask to see their Private Security Licence. If they do not have one, do not pay them.

Make sure you trust your locksmith before you give them access to your property, make sure you see their Private Security Licence, and make sure you know how much the service will cost before you consent to the work. If you worry that you may have been scammed, consider reporting it to Consumer Affairs. Read more about locksmith legislation here. And remember to  always trust your locksmith needs to licensed professionals.

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