INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., May 20, 2016 // PRNewswire // - An on-camera TV News sting caught a dozen fraudulent locksmiths Monday charging consumers as much as $200.00 dollars each to unlock their vehicles.
These con-artists have historically preyed upon Indianapolis consumers posing as legitimate locksmiths. They advertise unrealistically low prices all over the internet phone directories, on Google and elsewhere. Then they abuse customers who use them.
"The phony low prices lure gullible or desperate consumers into calling the scammers for help," statesMark Buss, Owner of Pop-A-Lock® in Indianapolis. The scam takes less than 20-minutes, from start to finish, after fraudsters arrive upon scene. Crooks often bilk victims out of hundreds of dollars per individual trip.
The hidden camera, sting operation by WTHR-TV's investigative team trapped more than a dozen bogus locksmiths from different companies this week, as the con-artists tried to defraud potential victims (who were really associates of the investigative team, posing as motorists in trouble).
"The crooks are not certified locksmiths, but use intimidation and deceit," said Pop-A-Lock®'s Buss, "to collect their small advertised charge, but often $150.00 dollars or more in addition."
Pop-A-Lock® is the largest locksmith network in North America, serving more than 8900 communities.Mark Buss says $70.00 range is a fair price for legitimate locksmiths in the metro for standard unlocking.
He states one mark of locksmith legitimacy is an obvious commitment to community involvement. For instance, "If a mom calls Pop-A-Lock®, when a child is locked into a car; we come unlock the vehicle for her, for free."
"Reputable locksmiths do not pump up prices, or intimidate stranded moms or grandmas. They do not make customers get cash from ATMs to pay inflated sums," says Buss.
The con-artists exposed by the TV news crew usually refused to answer reporter Bob Segall's questions, leaving the area quickly. Some put on sunglasses. One fired a barrage of profanity at Segall; others brushed past him, and into their own vehicles, driving away rapidly.
Mark Buss says the scammer problem is wide-spread and long-running. "Pop-A-Lock® of Indianapolisintervened in a potentially dangerous situation on behalf of 23-year-old Child Welfare Specialist, Megan Russell. In late December she locked her keys in her car in the parking lot at a local courthouse.
Quickly phone-searching the internet, she called a locksmith because of a low, advertised price. Russell realized she was being scammed and cancelled her request. The phony locksmith began to harass her via phone and text.
"The entire situation was very scary," Megan Russell said. "I was fortunate that my supervisor was with me, and I had called Pop-A-Lock®. The phony locksmith showed- up, dressed in sweatpants, smoking a cigarette and swearing at me. Had I been alone, I do not know what could have happened."
"We see this same scenario play out repeatedly in Indianapolis," said Mark Buss, of Pop-A-Lock®, there.
Because these scenarios plague the greater Indianapolis area, Pop-A-Lock® of Indianapolis has launched a Mobile App. It provides easy, online requests-for-service and real-time tracking of technician vehicles. The App offers photos of both technician and vehicle headed to stranded customers.
Pop-A-Lock®'s objective is to ensure customers are safe, according to Corporate CEO, Don Marks.
"You cannot risk your family or business," says Marks. To ensure safety, consumers can go directly to their local Pop-A-Lock® or another certified provider." Marks indicates the Provider needs to be a member of the American Locksmith Association (ALOA).
Link to I-Team report:
For service inquiries, please call Pop-A-Lock of Indianapolis at 317-635-5625. Pop-A-Lock™ of Indianapolisis a franchise member of Pop-A-Lock™ - the most trusted team of security professionals in North America. Founded in 1991, in Lafayette, Louisiana by two law enforcement officials, who recognized the need for security services in their area. Since then, the company has grown to serve over 8,900 communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. All Pop-A-Lock technicians are trained in the latest technology and have cleared background and drug tests. Look for our technicians in their easy to identify orange and black uniforms and vehicles. http://www.popalockindy.com/