How Illegal Locksmiths Hurt the Public
Illegal locksmiths caused annoyances in New York and several other states by placing hard-to-remove stickers on private property. They further insulted residents and business owners by using fake addresses and phone number to avoid getting caught. This is a popular scam tactic for locksmiths who are in the business for the wrong reasons.
There are an unbelievable number of illegal locksmiths across the United States who operated many different businesses under many different names while being licensed under only one name. Many illegal locksmiths place ads in yellow pages with phone numbers that connect to national call centers. The addresses they use in their ads either don't exist or belong to abandoned buildings. Operating under a business name other than the one under which the locksmith is licensed makes it impossible to verify their license for any state level recourse of action for recovery when there has been a scam.
It is recommended that any locksmith's state license be verified before you hire him/her. Taking the locksmith's word for verification only makes your family security vulnerable. The scam artists have access to your home, your personal belongings, private information, keys, codes, and safe combinations. If your instinct tells you there is something vague about their answers to your questions, it may be best to follow your instincts. The locksmiths who are doing business legally and who are trustworthy should not mind satisfying your curiosity about their legitimacy.
Fake locksmiths get away with their illegal scams because they catch people in a jam, in a hurry, too upset to take the proper precautions, and either too lazy to take the time to check credentials or too na´ve. They also get past the legal system because of the cracks in the system. Sometimes the very laws we make to protect us are the laws that can also harm us when misused.
One way to tell if a locksmith is honest is to check the advertising for their locksmith license number. It should be posted on all ads, invoices, and business cards. The locksmith should also carry an embossed pocket version of the locksmith license. He/she should be willing to give you the license number when you contact him/her.
There are some other problems with illegal lock pickers. Code grabbers are illegal in the United States, so an individual who refuses to show proper credentials and possesses one is obviously not a certified, registered locksmith. Although there are tools that a burglar uses that are legal for a person to have in possession, such as lock picks, these are not legal in all states. In New York, Illinois, and the District of Columbia lock picks are illegal. In some places, potential burglar tools are only incriminating if you've been suspected of committing a crime or are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
How could it be feasible to carry lock picks and other locksmith tools and be at the wrong place at the wrong time? There are lock picking games and events that allow for a lock picker to have possession of these items. There are people who are interested in such a past time solely for the entertainment value. So, not everyone who might carry the tools is an illegal locksmith or a criminal.