How the Scam Works
Stage 1: A consumer lost their car key or locked it in the car
Stage 2: The consumer searches online for a local locksmith to help
Stage 3: The scammer offers ridiculously low call out fees and gets the job
Stage 4: The price changes and the consumer is forced to pay via credit card or cash
The alleged “locksmith” arrives to do the job, usually in an unbranded vehicle, often in streetwear and without presenting any kind of identification.
The person will attempt to open the vehicle (or pretend to try) before informing the consumer that the service fee only covers their initial attempt and additional charges will apply.
If the consumer agrees to further costs, the scammer will generally use force to open the vehicle, sometimes causing irreparable damage.
To make matters worse, the scammer will then charge the consumer an exorbitant fee, demands immediate payment and issues a receipt without GST, business name, ABN or contact details.
These people are not professional locksmiths – they are scammers and often backpackers, students, and even tourists. Unfortunately, there is very little the consumer can do other than lodge a claim with the relevant consumer affairs authority, but as the scammers are unregistered and unlicensed, the chances of getting any money back are very slim.