Identity theft and phony locksmiths

Fake locksmiths have gone online and use the power of search engine giant Google to steal a business’ identity and rip off consumers. They manage to access the Google listing of a legitimate locksmith, change the phone number and other contact info and with that little trick successfully redirect consumers’ calls to their own phone.

Most of the time the phone calls go to a call center often several states away that then sends a local accomplice to handle the service call. The phony locksmith shows up, takes your money, maybe even makes a duplicate of your keys – and for all that you will be overcharged.

These scams are not isolated to certain areas of the country, they take place nationwide. A California TV station reporting on the scam found a locksmith on Google Maps and called for service. Fifteen minutes later the man arrived in an unmarked passenger car. When asked he could not produce the legally required locksmith permit. He didn’t even have a business card. Connecticut as well as California are two of the 14 states that require licensing for locksmiths.

What can you do to protect yourself from these types of scams?

  • Don’t call the phone number listed on Google, Yelp or other business directory sites. Scammers have figured out how to manipulate this information and hijack legitimate business listings. Go to the locksmith’s website and call the number listed there.
  • Make sure the locksmith drives a marked service vehicle and is wearing a uniform that matches.
  • If the locksmith arrives in a marked vehicle but you are skeptical ask to see his locksmith license. If he can’t or won’t show it to you call another locksmith.

Jim is a CT licensed Master Locksmith with over 30 years experience. He’ll repair and install a new lock at your Connecticut home or business and you’ll never have to worry. Just email or give him a call at 860-678-9797.