A new breed of thief is stealing the identities of businesses and ripping off unsuspecting customers of all ages. This new thief is posing as a reputable business and it’s a business a consumer should trust—a locksmith.
KTVU has recently reported on this.
These unscrupulous locksmiths are baiting customers with a low price to get their business such as with an emergency call for a lockout; upon arriving to the customer’s location and performing the work, the bill gets super inflated.
For example, an elderly man was conned out of about five thousand dollars for simply opening his front door.
These unscrupulous business are using 411, websites and Google to steal the identities of legitimate businesses. These companies come in, take the listing and change it to basically create hundreds of Google map listings that go to their own phone numbers. These types of businesses have call centers located in areas like Florida or New York.
When called, these so-called locksmiths show up late, take your money, and may even make and keep duplicates of your keys—a VERY scary thought.
KTVU investigated by locating on Google Maps to find a locksmith for a locked SUV. Around 15 minutes later, a man arrived in a small, unmarked passenger car. He did NOT have a locksmith permit nor did he have even a tool box. He didn’t even have a business card. When KTVU looked at his license, it stated the gentleman was from the Bronx in New York. When he was asked if he had a California license, he stated no. This man said he worked for “Top Locksmith” at 1444 High Street in Oakland. This address takes you to a strip mall with a donut shop and hair salon but there is NO 144 High Street and after being confronted, the man, who said he was from Bulgaria, quickly drove off in his car, which had a South Carolina license plate.
These types of business prey on those most vulnerable such as the elderly. If you DO need a locksmith, make sure you:
- Call one that is a California resident
- Call one that has a California locksmith license (they are REQUIRED to carry it)
- Make sure you know how much you are being charged UP FRONT; there should not be any added charges after the service is completed
Remember, just because you find the information on the internet does not mean that it’s a REAL company.
To read the entire article, please visit here.