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Virginia officials warn of locksmith scammers

The Department of Criminal Justice Services urges Virginia citizens to beware of shady practices from some locksmiths in the state.

Several locksmith businesses and individuals use fictitious names and addresses and make other misrepresentations, according to a release from the DCJS.

Virginia residents should be also aware of deceptive business tactics, like quoting one price for services over the telephone but charging a higher price after providing the service.

In some cases, the release said, unscrupulous locksmiths insist on accompanying a customer to an ATM to withdraw cash for payment of the inflated fee.

Any business that sells, installs, or services locks must be licensed by the DCJS. The contract for locksmith services must contain the DCJS business license number, which begins with "11" followed by a four-digit number. (Example: 11-5432)

If you need a locksmith, insist on a written quote with a clearly stated price before you agree.

Residents can verify the valid licenses of legitimate locksmiths at this facility search site or by calling (804) 786-4700.

Locksmiths must present credentials issued by DCJS, either a photo ID or a letter of registration, upon request.

Verify valid registration numbers at this license search site or by calling (804) 786-4700.

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