GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of New England is warning people of a new scam targeting people in need of locksmith services.

The growing scam was discovered by a locksmith company, Norbert’s Locksmith in Great Barrington, who came across internet listings impersonating their business. When you call these fake companies, they answer with generic greetings like “thanks for calling our company”. They will quote you a reasonable price and find ways to increase it once they arrive, usually in an unmarked van or truck.

“People are definitely getting ripped off,” Norbert Ruthel, of Norbert’s Locksmith in Great Barrington.

According to a news release from the BBB, Norbert’s Locksmith told them the scammers can hurt his reputation. He spoke with a local realtor who called one of the scam numbers and was charged $150 over the phone.

“I don’t have an office, and I don’t work 24 hours a day and weekends,” Ruthel said.

To avoid a locksmith scam, check their identification, demand an invoice, and don’t let them drill the lock right away.

Some reports of locksmith scams reported to BBB’s Scam Tracker:

  •     “This company is a complete fraud they took total advantage of the urgency of my situation.”
  •     “This is a fake business listing. The actual invoice is from a different company. They did not provide a quote then changed the quote several times.”
  •    “When the locksmith finished and told me the bill was $2,771.30 I almost fell over.”
  •    “In my search for a locksmith I came across a website listing all the information of a local locksmith by me but had the attached pic with a different phone number. When I called they did not specify a business name…..I didn’t trust it.”
  •  “Our keypad lock stopped working on the front door…They came, put a lock on our door that doesn’t work, took $300 and refused to fix it.”