Monthly Archives: July 2011

Burglary Season

The months of July and August usually see the highest number of residential burglaries, presumably because so many homeowner’s take their vacations at this time of year. Are you prepared?

Whether or not you are on vacation, you should still make sure your home is secure. Though it is the hottest time of the year, be sure all doors and windows are closed and locked when you leave your home, Some windows can be locked in a ventilation position. Even if you are going to be gone for just a few minutes, also be sure to close the garage door. Too many people have found out it only takes a few minutes for a burglar to do their thing. If you have an alarm system, use it.

Most importantly, make sure your locks are installed correctly and in good working order. Don’t leave a spare key outside your house. If you can’t account for all the keys to your home, it might be a good time to rekey your locks so that you can restore some level of key control. Make sure the deadlatch mechanism on your entry locks is working properly. Make sure your deadbolts extend completely so that the bolt will actually lock in place. Every exterior door and any door from the house to the garage should have an entry lock with a deadlatch and a deadboltlock. Use reinforced strikes with your deadbolt locks or, if you only have standard strike plates, at least make sure the screws used to install the strike are long enough to tie into the 2×4 wall framing around the door.

Of course, contact Altic Lock Service, if you would like to have us rekey, service, or install any locks or other door hardware. Have a safe and secure summer!


Licensed locksmiths in Indiana are lying

It’s hard enough for people to find a decent locksmith on a normal day. Most phone books (with the notable exception of Yellowbook in the metro Indy area) are full of fraudulent listings. In a few other states, lawsuits have been filed against these bogus businesses that call themselves locksmiths. Many, if not most, are not local. Your call will go to a phone bank where several different things may happen. You may be told service isn’t available in your area, if you are lucky. More likely, if you are locked out of your home or car, you’ll be quoted a low price. When the so-called locksmith arrives, they tell you the bill will be much more than what was quoted on the phone. That is, in part, because they have no skill, and tell the customer their lock is “high security” and must be drilled and replaced. Or, you may be told a special tool is required to unlock your vehicle, which will cost much more. In some cases, I understand that they are mining the customers for information – perhaps taking credit card information over the phone before sending someone out, if they ever do.

There are times when normal bypass techniques will not work. Some of the new “rekeyable” locks cannot be picked, but there are still other methods to be tried before destroying and replacing the lock. There are times when a lock must be destroyed to open it without a key, but these times are rare. And if you are not aware that you have a “high security” lock, you probably don’t. Again, there are rare exceptions to this.

But, from time to time, I search the internet for locksmiths in Indianapolis to see where Altic Lock Service is showing up and to see what competitive companies are doing. The fraudulent companies, referred to as “scammers” within the industry, often have a number of poorly written but rave reviews. I was approached by a company, recently, that offered to write reviews for Altic Lock Service on Google. The company was based in the Philippines. I did not respond to that company, but judging by the reviews I have seen about supposedly local locksmith companies I have never heard of, scammers will use services like that.

Frequently I also see companies that claim to be local licensed locksmiths. That is pretty much a dead giveaway that the company is fraudulent, since the State of Indiana does not license locksmiths. If you call a locksmith company in Indiana, and they claim to be licensed here, they are lying!

I have also noted that few locksmith companies are actually accredited by the Better Business Bureau. If a company claims to be BBB accredited, verify that with the BBB! I can’t say why other legitimate locksmiths are not accredited, but I have chosen not to seek BBB accreditation simply because the BBB charges the company too much to get accreditation. Last I checked (a few months ago), none of the local legitimate companies I am aware of was accredited. But I have seen a company claim BBB accreditation on the internet, and when I checked the BBB website, they were not listed.

Earlier, I mentioned that Yellowbook was an exception to the phone books that listed a number of fraudulent companies. A couple years ago, Yellowbook took steps to remove some of the fraudulent companies from their book, and from what I have seen, they were largely successful. On their website, though many more companies are listed than are in the printed Yellowbook, you will note that only a small number are marked as “verified.”

So, if you are looking for a locksmith in Indianapolis, there are a few things to consider:

  • Rely heavily on referrals from people you know.
  • Use a legitimate review source, such as Angie’s List.
  • Avoid any company that claims to be licensed.
  • If a company claims to be BBB-accredited, verify the claim.
  • Look for members of locksmith organizations, such as the Society of Professional Locksmiths or the Associated Locksmiths of America.

If you feel that you’ve been ripped off, or you question a bid or estimate, the Society of Professional Locksmiths offers a review service.

Save $10 in July

Print and use this coupon this month only!