Phony locksmiths appear to be thriving, says NPR. The Better Business Bureau has has identified is a company that poses as a local locksmith in cities across the country, advertising in the Yellow Pages using local phone numbers and fake local addresses. It quotes a low rate — then dispatches a con man who is not trained to pick locks. A Virginia prosecutor in an ad sponsored by the Associated Locksmiths of America warns consumers to beware of locksmiths who use an unmarked vehicle and accept only cash.
The locksmiths’ group has hired a lobbyist to promote stricter laws. Fifteen states now regulate locksmiths, and a few have taken con artists to court. The locksmith scam has even caught the attention of the FBI — but so far, the bureau says it’s not dangerous or costly enough to warrant a national investigation.