For many years now it has been common knowledge amongst locksmiths from all over Australia that there is an ongoing problem with unlicensed and unqualified locksmiths (Fake Locksmiths) posing as legitimate locksmith businesses and offering unrealistic pricing as cheap as $45 call out fee and sometimes even cheaper. Now it seem that they are moving in on the Central Coast in NSW and they might be here to stay.
This may be the first time for locksmiths on the Central Coast to see this kind of activity happening here from an out of area imposter, possibly from overseas, but it’s not the first time for locksmiths and residents of the Central Coast to have had a fake locksmith working the Central Coast . In fact it’s been happening for years.
Fake locksmiths or more commonly known amongst us locksmiths as Locksmith 45, trick their customers by offering a cheap $45 service fee to come out but then charge an additional fee open the door itself . More alarmingly though is often they say they will have to drill the lock open and replace it which brings the price up to in excess of $300 or sometimes much more. While drilling a lock open is a possibility, it is generally rare and to put it in prospective, I would say I would have to drill a common front door lock once or twice a year at the most. When it comes to opening cars, fake locksmiths have been seen damaging the doors and still not being able to open the car.
In Sydney and other capital cities around Australia, this kind of activity has been happening for many years and locksmiths have complained about to to their industry associations and to the government authorities to try and put a stop to it but little or nothing has been done. It feels like nobody who can do something about it really cares, especially the government. Main-stream media such as channel 7 have even caught out these fake locksmiths and still nothing seems to be done about it. Here is a link to the video of a fake locksmith being caught in the act: https://www.facebook.com/7NewsAustralia/videos/611194999349960/
Auto Electrician Posing as Locksmith on the Central Coast NSW
There has been a fake locksmith on the Central Coast for many years. This guy is apparently a licenced auto electrical who advertises as an automotive locksmith specialist on the Central Coast. He consistently advertises that you should only use a locksmith with a motor vehicle repairers licence and using any locksmith who doesn’t have a licence will void and warranties and insurance, but yet this guy is apparently not a certified locksmith.
The feed back from locksmiths on the Central Coast is that while this uncertified locksmith has the ability to carry out general key cutting and key programming, some certified locksmiths have seen attempted ignition repairs that leave them scratching their head as to why this guy has left ignitions with little or no wafers in it. I know why because locks key and lock problems should be left to a locksmiths to resolve, not auto electricians! Quiet often qualified locksmiths are left to complete the job properly months later when the ignition fails again. I have been told that the general response from this fake locksmith is that when the customer rings up and complains the response is “I am not available to fix it at the moment”, or he won’t even respond to the calls even when the customer leaves several messages.
If this auto electrician pretending to be a locksmith isn’t bad enough, this guy has been proactively trying to stop locksmiths from touching cars as locksmiths generally don’t fall under the motor vehicle industry and are stuck in limbo regarding licencing. Locksmiths suspect it may be this guy reporting locksmiths to fair trading for working on cars. One sure way to monopolies and grow your business is too eliminate your competitors. I will elaborate on this later in another post.
While auto electrician have the ability to work on cars’ immobilizers systems, most auto electricians in Australia will call upon an automotive locksmith to trouble shoot a problem with a cars’ ignition and/or imobiliser issue and ask them to fix the problem. Automotive locksmithing is a module that is included as part of the training in TAFE NSW and through out Australia. Within this training a locksmith must work on car ignitions and have a sound understanding of how they work to pass this module and perform tasks. Locksmiths are the only trade who are formally trained to repair and work on car ignitions.
An auto electrician is not trained on the mechanics of a car ignition as part of their formal training but I would suspect they complete a basis module on immoblilser system diagnostics.
Why are Fake Locksmiths a Problem for Everyone?
The locksmith industry once was a very reputable industry where most people would trust a locksmith with their wallet. These days, calling upon a locksmith to carry out general and technical locksmith tasks comes with risk. It saddens me as a locksmith to say this, but it’s true. To call a locksmith these days could bring anyone from an overseas backpacker, handyman, auto electrician pretending to be locksmith or even worse, a criminal.
Qualified locksmiths require a security license, and a master license if you are the owner of the business. In addition to this locksmiths often have a current Police Check and Working with Children Check. This is all good and well but locksmiths just see this as only revenue for the government because as I mentioned before, nothing appears to happen when we make a complaint against fake locksmiths. No arrests, not even an investigation, not that I’ve heard anyway. Just ask your local locksmith!
DO YOU TRUST A FAKE LOCKSMITH WHO MAY HAVE A CRIMINAL HISTORY OF RAPE, VIOLENCE, THEFT OR FRUAD COME INTO YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS, MAKE KEYS TO YOUR CAR OR OPEN YOUR SAFE?
Locksmiths in NSW come under the police governing licensing body called Security Licensing & Enforcement Directorate (SLED). Many complaints to SLED have been made over the years but yet fake locksmiths continue to make an impact on the locksmith community and their customers.
Many complaints have also been made to Fair Trading about misleading advertising and fake locksmiths but I think there must be a generic email sent out to all locksmith complainants which just reads that you should refer this matter to SLED.
How to Stop Fake Locksmiths
Most fake locksmiths rely on Google Ads to reach their unsuspecting victims. Google Ads are normally indexed at the top of a keyword search page of google, so if you are searching for example Locksmith Central Coast, the google ad will appear at the top of the page. Many people just click ads and are directed to the Fake Locksmith. Though not all ads are fake and legit locksmiths often use google ads to generate customers. But this is how the fake locksmiths do it too. There are 2 ways to identify if they are fake. Try reading the content on the website and you will soon realize there are gramma mistakes and a lot of it. But I think the best way the identify between a fake and legit locksmith is to see if their website also comes up organically. So if you scroll down the page and the same locksmith come up within the first or second page of google, this generally means the will be a local locksmith and good to call. Though the fake auto electrical on the Central Coast is an exception. Everything about his website looks legit so you still need to be careful regardless.
Questions you can ask when you call a locksmith
Are you a qualified Locksmiths? No then call another locksmith.
Do you have a Security Licence? No then call another locksmith.
Can you show me your security licence when you arrive? No then call another locksmith.
Do you accept Credit Card/Eftpos? If cash only then the alarm bells should start to ring. Be careful!
What’s the total cost of opening the door (if it’s a lockout)? $45 is just way too cheap and you should call another locksmith. In fact you not bother to call if you see a price advertised that low.