Five Ways To Spot A Rogue Locksmith

Five Ways To Spot A Rogue Locksmith In Northampton Image

Click. The deafening, unmistakable sound of a locked door closing behind you. The second of crystal clear clarity when you realise what’s about to happen but are powerless to prevent it. The uneasy feeling in your stomach of irritation, anguish and inconvenience.

What to do next? Many of us fumble for our phone and do a quick Google search for a ‘locksmith near me’ or ‘24 hour locksmith’ and choose the first or second search result.

Beware. Scammers are weaponising search engines.

Locksmithing is not government regulated, which leaves the public vulnerable to criminal activity and unqualified individuals offering locksmith services. Rogue locksmiths hide in plain sight amongst genuine search engine listings, and it’s a national problem.

What does a reputable emergency locksmith look like?

Locksmithing is skilled work that requires a significant amount of training and specialist tools. The best way to spot a fraudulent locksmith before it’s too late is to know how to recognise a legitimate emergency locksmith.

An excellent place to start your search is The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA). In the absence of government licencing, the MLA licencing scheme ensures high professional standards in the industry. MLA approved locksmiths like Fensome Locksmiths are vetted, qualified, regularly inspected, and are searchable by location.

MLA-approved locksmith services always have:

  • A clean Disclosure and Barring Service record. All approved locksmiths are criminal record checked. MLA approval is the only official route for locksmiths to obtain a criminal record check.
  • Use of the MLA logo on their website.
  • A company listing on the MLA website (searchable by location).
  • Proof of identification. Every member has an ID card confirming their membership.
  • Qualifications, accreditation and written references. What’s more, is they will happily produce them on request.

Now we’ve established what a reputable emergency locksmith looks like, you’re ready to read our list of five ways to spot a rogue locksmith.

Now we’ve established what a reputable emergency locksmith looks like, you’re ready to read our list of five ways to spot a rogue locksmith.

1. Rogue locksmiths are manipulating Google Ads

These days, in any locked out of the house emergency, it’s instinct to open Google and type in “locksmith near me.” However, before reaching for your phone, bear in mind that individuals, businesses, and companies pay to appear in the highly-coveted first search result position, sometimes for dishonest reasons.

Not every emergency locksmith ranked highly on search engines is a rogue - far from it. Just be wary, especially if their locksmith prices are cheap compared to other 24 hour locksmiths, particularly when out of hours. You can use the MLA’s handy guide on locksmith prices to give you an idea of what kind of costs to expect.

Fraudsters have been linked to bait and switch schemes. Low prices lure in unsuspecting customers, who are then charged eye-watering fees for simple jobs.

Protect yourself by always getting a written quote before locksmith services begin.

Always trust your gut: if something feels wrong in a situation, it usually is.

2. They’re secretive about locksmith prices or what’s included in their quote.

Alarm bells should begin to ring if your emergency locksmith:

  • avoids answering questions about price,
  • answers in a way that leaves you none-the-wiser,
  • won’t provide a written quote when asked,
  • or provides a written quote but won’t explain what it includes or excludes.

Remember, a written quote is necessary for you to make an informed decision about whether to accept the locksmith’s services and begin the work.

Preparing a quotation isn’t an inconvenience for an emergency locksmith; it’s standard practice. If yours tells you or makes you feel otherwise, it’s best to walk away.

3. The call handler can’t tell you the name of the emergency locksmith who’ll be attending your home.

It’s instinct to look for local locksmith services when you lock yourself out. You want the situation resolved as quickly as possible so you can return to everyday life with minimal disruption.

When you’ve typed into Google search “locksmith near me”, it’s off putting to find out later that you’ve been dealing with a national company that subcontracts to 24 hour locksmiths in a particular area, especially when they’re not upfront about it. Always check who your contract is with in case of any problems.

4. Your emergency locksmith makes wild and questionable claims.

If a 24 hour locksmith claims they are ‘police recommended’, tread with caution. The police don’t recommend particular locksmith services, although they might recommend finding one that is MLA approved.

Another claim to watch out for is ‘trade association certified’ or more general recommendations from trusted institutions. The same is true of qualifications, accreditations and references.

Always ask for proof to back up any claims. If your emergency locksmith is telling the truth, they have nothing to hide and will happily share their evidence with you.

5. Your emergency locksmith advises drastic measures as a first resort.

Drilling a lock is the last resort any suitably qualified emergency locksmith will ever recommend. Drilling is only appropriate when a lock is damaged beyond repair and you need a door lock replacement. Offering this as a solution to a simple lock-out would be the equivalent of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

Any emergency locksmith recommending this course of action as a first resort has no business offering locksmith services or anywhere near your locks. Say thanks but no thanks and send them on their way.

Knowledge is power. Spread the word.

Knowing how to identify a rogue emergency locksmith before it’s too late can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and a costly financial mistake.

At Fensome Locksmiths, we know that the best way to prevent you and your loved ones from falling victim to rogue locksmiths and to maintain the integrity of the locksmith services profession is through education.

Help us spread the word far and wide. Every person that shares our message reduces the potential victim pool and prevents vulnerable people from feeling unsafe in their homes.

Need A Repatable Locksmith In Northamptonshire?

If you’re residing in the Northampton area and need any assistance with your locks, don’t hesitate to contact Fensome Locksmiths. Feel free to ring us on 01604 661 872 at any hour of the day, email us at, or fill out our enquiry form. With our 24-hour call out and 30-minute local response time, your safety is our top priority.