“Dear PoPville,

I just wanted to share a scam that I unfortunately fell victim to this morning. I locked myself out of my house. I had a Nest lock that I was able to unlock, but we also had a regular entry door lock in the doorknob, for which I’d accidentally left the keys inside.

I called a company, which had great google reviews. With that service, you call dispatch, and they send a technician out. The locksmith arrived, and began working. She spent about one minute trying to pick the lock, then before I knew what she was doing, she pulled out a drill and completely destroyed the lock. She claimed it was necessary, and then offered to sell me a new one for $125 (the same lock costs $20 on Amazon). This was on top of the $250 she’d already charged for the service.

This all seemed wrong, since it was a regular door lock, no deadbolt, no damage. I started to look online and it turns out this is a named and recognized scam. It is almost never necessary to drill out a regular lock, unless a key has been broken in it. A reputable locksmith will also look for alternatives to drilling, including inquiring about other entry doors that they might be able to pick if the first one doesn’t work. This locksmith spent ten minutes total at my house; I’d estimate she “tried” alternatives for 1 minute before pulling out the drill, which I have documented on my Nest cam footage. So either she’s incredibly unskilled as a locksmith, or else she was really hoping to get me…

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