Recently two random events occurred that led to an interesting discovery. The local phone directory company distributed their newest version of their big thick books that I rarely ever use or even think of. At around the same time, I needed to re-key a lock in our offices and stopped by our neighborhood locksmith.

You might wonder what these two random events had in common. Well, while I was waiting for the new keys, the locksmith started to complain about the new phone books.

Our local locksmith is the only locksmith in the neighborhood, or for that matter, within a mile or two of our offices. Yet, he was telling me that the new phone book listed between thirty and forty locksmiths in the neighborhood.

He took out the new business directory and had marked all of the listings in the neighborhood. Well, there were dozens. They all had similar phone numbers but all had different names. Some were names of businesses while others had business names.

He then went on to explain that he had heard that people were listing themselves as locksmiths but were not licensed (as they have to be where we are located) and he had heard of people calling some of these services only to find out that they were a scam.

If you call the listing, a person shows up requesting a payment for the service to then perform the service later on, but may never show up again or may use the information they gather from the service call to sell that information to others that might want for reasons unrelated to the service call.

Finally and worse, he thought that some of the listings might be purely for purposes of determining whether the home might be a good place to target for a future burglary.

I was glad he had given me all of this information as we usually tell new homeowners to change the locks on their new homes. When you move into a new home, you don’t know who might have had keys to the home, whether all of the keys were accounted for and whether someone kept a key to use it at some later date.

So for the protection of the new buyer of the home, you’re best off getting the locks changed in the house.

But if you can’t trust the locksmith, you need to research and make sure you are using a reputable locksmith that has been around for quite some time. That leads me to the information my locksmith gave me.

If you are new to the neighborhood, you should make sure you know who you are dealing with. If your state licenses locksmiths, you should go online and find out if your local locksmith has a valid and current license in your state. If you are using only the web to search for a locksmith, make sure that locksmith is actually located at the address listed for that business. You might be able to get a better idea if they are actually located at the address they have listed on their ads by driving by and visiting the locksmith.

And, if you are truly concerned about giving your key over to someone and you are handy or know someone that is handy, you can take the locks off the doors of your home and take them to a reputable locksmith and have them key the locks while you wait. If you pay cash and don’t give them your address, the locksmith won’t know where the locks came from.

Which leads me back to my local locksmith, after about ten minutes the other locksmith came out with my newly keyed lock and for $15 I had my husband install the lock back on the door and we were all set with a new set of keyed locks.