Bob's Blog


Beware the Locksmith Scams

posted Nov 27, 2011, 12:08 PM by Bob Slama   [ updated Nov 27, 2011, 4:15 PM ]

Local Locksmith Scams Proliferate

Don't think the scam to the right shown on this YouTube video is an isolated incident and it won't happen to you. The link below to WSB - TV Channel 2 in Atlanta is a November 2011 news story depicting another instance of a business owner calling an illegitimate locksmith posing as a reputable local locksmith in Sandy Springs GA. Unfortunately, these scams are even easier to employ with the increasing use of internet search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to find local businesses. The search engine results pages quite often don't list actual company names, rather you will see bogus titles like "Locksmith Mission Viejo" highlighted with links to high ranking websites. These websites have spammed the search engines into believing they are "authorities" as Locksmiths in Mission Viejo. These websites are stuffed with keywords relating to locksmiths so that when the search engines "read" the content of the site they will rank the site as an authoritative locksmith. In reality, the website is a string of  incoherent, meaningless "sentences." Here are a couple of sentences from an actual website that receives a front page ranking on Google for the search "Locksmith Mission Viejo."  

"They they ascribe you sensible appliances. Now, you will not have of be worried importance. 
Your dwelling too desires to be secured. By utilising an skilled and dependable novice
locksmith, An Locksmith Mission Viejo CA will have a larger grade of promise their the
value of in workmanship. you skilled locksmith is This only well known with but knowing
of the numerous distinct kinds to security devices and security schemes in the market." 

Incredible, if only the search engines could read sentences! The reality, search engines have no idea as to the physical location or the quality of workmanship of this business posing as a local locksmith in Mission Viejo. Knowing this happens, here are my tips to vetting a locksmith to help you make sure you don't get scammed.

Bob's Tips for picking a reputable Locksmith
  • Do some advance research before an emergency
  • If you have roadside assistance you might not need a locksmith
  • Call someone you trust who might have a referral
  • Verify a local address for the locksmith
  • Be wary of companies answering generically "locksmith services"
  • Ask for an estimate
  • If required by state (like California), check license and insurance
Bob's Tips for after the Locksmith arrives
  • Ask for identification
  • Be thankful if they ask you for identification
  • Check for a commercial vehicle with the same name as dispatcher
  • Be cautious of a quick call to drill
  • Get a detailed invoice
  • If you like their service, keep their name and pass it on!
Makes me yearn for the old Yellowbook locksmith scams. At least they had to write in complete sentences! 

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