Superb investigative report on the fake locksmith scam


[Read the post]

I found a locked safe hidden at the back of a closet in my new house
I found a locked safe hidden at the back of a closet in my new house

Protip: this is why the yellow pages is still relevant. Because it’s a listing of local businesses who have paid good money to be included in the directory. Scam artists aren’t interested in paying real money when they can pollute the internet with their scam ads for essentially free.


It’s pretty obvious when moving to a new town and you google to figure out which cable tv operators service your area, too. My town’s top 3 pages of listings had one legit link (for our public access channel) and the rest were scammy lead gen sites.


I wonder if there are other search engines that do a better job parsing this.

I also like the Yellow Pages idea.


The only person who can stop a bad guy with lock picks is a good guy with lock picks.

/never paid for a lock smith


If I were a legitimate locksmith, I would call the scammers, have them show up and when they quote a high price, tell them to get out. Wasted trips would cut into their profit margin. Got scammed by a tow company once and sent them on a few nonexistent tows.


Reading this gave me an “Aha!” moment.

When I was getting ready to move into my new house, I did a search for locksmiths. Dozens of the listings were in a single address in a sleepy office park down the road.

Fortunately, my realtor suggested a good, legitimate locksmith. Woman owned business as well.

The mention of carpet cleaning is interesting. The local coupon / offer “magazine” has two or three carpet cleaning adverts in each issue. Are they scam fronts too?

I bet my old apartment complex could recommend a good carpet cleaning service…


Just like gathering news from the web, hiring a skilled craftsman needs vetting from at least three websites also.


Rule No. 1: Never trust the internet.


I don’t know about your area, but I’ve used services from my little monthly ValPak mailing to do garage door repair, plumbing work, and vent cleaning, and they’ve all been local guys and gals, good service, fair pricing, etc.

So again I think the ad rates there are high enough to drive away just pure lead generators.


good lord, Cory! next you’ll be warning us about dastardly zionist uber pirates, stealing bread from honest god-fearin gubmint prooft taximotor enterprizus


If you think a locksmith costs $19, you deserve to be locked out of your house…


Wow, yeah, I tried to find a locksmith a couple of years ago, and fortunately decided to drive over to their “business” rather than call them.


They tend to charge an appearance fee.


When I google “locksmith” I get a google map that shows three local locksmiths in town. That result comes after a few ads, but are people really clicking on the ads? (Dumb question. Of course they are, or there wouldn’t be ads.)


This comment is not totally related, but I am trying to figure out why furniture businesses are always going out of business. I think it’s some kind of scam - maybe for taxes? - but can’t figure it out. Anyone have ideas?


My little metro area had no fake results, either. But I put in a nearby city, and saw a whole bunch of generic pages with addresses that definitely don’t belong to businesses.


Its partly a fault of google for not doing enough about link farms. Seriously, what small business is going to have a good reputation because 2000 blogs link to it?


The statement, “nearly every locksmith that appears on Google Maps is a fake business” is a little misleading. Nearly every legitimate locksmith also advertises on Google Maps. It’s just that the scammers are crowding them out. Not every listing you find on Google is bogus. The ones advertising $19 lockouts are for sure. No legitimate professional makes a housecall for $19. If you want to be sure you’re calling a legit locksmith, first don’t fall for too-good-to-be-true prices, second, check, which is a directory of vetted members of the Associated Locksmiths of America.


If real locksmiths who do pay to have a store-front are being impacted, then you’d think it wouldn’t be that expensive for them to:

  1. be aware of this problem
  2. be interested in communicating the problem to their customers, and
  3. be willing to spend some money/energy to create a trusted listing of their own.

Oh, look! here’s a national trade association, with a “Find a locksmith” service right here on their home page:
Mischief Managed!