BOISE -- Officials with the Better Business Bureau are asking people to be alert after a surge of complaints about deceptive locksmith companies operating in the Treasure Valley.

The BBB has heard from multiple people who say the locksmith they called was not upfront about how much the job would cost.

In one recent case, a company out of California that acts a referral service to local contractors gives customers lower price quotes than what they are charged, according to complaints.

BBB officials say predatory companies often have a legitimate-looking website that comes up when customers search online for a locksmith in their area. The site promises to unlock a door for a small fee, but when the locksmith shows up, they tell customers the job "is bigger than initially thought," and will cost more, according to the BBB.

In some of these cases, the person sent out to unlock the customer's car or home is not a real locksmith, and may end up damaging the door.

One red flag of a potentially deceptive company is a vague dispatcher who cannot tell the caller the name of the locksmith comapany and it's location. Others include open-ended prices - such as $19 and up - and a locksmith who shows up in an unmarked vehicle or without proper ID.

Wary customers can ask for the exact final service fee and company's license to make sure the business is not trying to rip them off. Customers should not feel pressured to pay if they are not satisfied with the final cost.

If you think you have been a victim of the locksmith scam, you can report the incident to BBB Scam Tracker by following this link.