The state labor department is stepping up its stings on unlicensed locksmiths and has even issued a consumer warning for all of us to be wary of those that don't have licenses. Knowing what to ask for may be the key to prevent being ripped off.
Johnny Montgomery came to Tulsa Lock and Key to get a few keys made. He says he's always careful to deal with licensed and reputable locksmiths.
"Your safety, your home safety, your property, it's just too valuable to do anything else," said Tulsa resident Johnny Montgomery.
Tulsa Lock and Keys' Troy Stephens, a locksmith for 40 years, is glad to hear Montgomery is cautious. He's also glad to hear the state labor commissioner is stepping up enforcement efforts for non-licensed locksmiths.
"If you want somebody who is trustworthy, you should always check for licensing," said Troy Stephens, Tulsa Lock & Key.
For five years, the state has required locksmiths to be licensed. They have to show a certification card. License numbers have to be displayed on things like vehicles, paperwork and estimates, and a certificate has to be displayed publicly.
"If you're looking for a locksmith and you're looking for their website, or any advertising that they have, if there's not a license number on that, you can rest assured they probably do not have a license," said Rick Flanigan of the State Labor Commission.
Inspectors are stepping up enforcement efforts because of more complaints about unlicensed locksmiths, who often do shoddy work or charge too much.
"They're fly by night, a lot of them come in here, they'll be here a few months until we run them off and the next guys will come in," Flanigan said.
Part of licensing includes criminal background checks, and skills testing.
"The unlicensed locksmith doesn't have the skills and talents and they charge you four times as much," said Rick Flanigan, State Labor Commission.
Troy Stephens says consumers should take the states' consumer warning seriously.
"Because a locksmith has access to your home. And because they have access to your home, it's important," he said.
State leaders say many unlicensed locksmiths lack an address in their advertisements or only list an 800 number - that's probably answered in another state or country.