Fake locksmiths have taken over the internet and tarnished the image of the locksmith industry for years. Look it up. Google has been in the news regarding how locksmith scams have been high ranking in searches.
Local maps searches is one of the most common listings abused by scammers. Google allows anyone to create a free business listing to enhance the search experience for users. The plan is that if someone wants to find a given business near them, they search for it and the search results will populate only those relevant businesses in their area.
Fraudulent locksmiths have used this search capability to “game the system”. Often, there’s a so-called national locksmith service that pops up and offers to send a local locksmith to the person in need. Once the supposed locksmith arrives, they may engage in a number of sketchy behaviors with the goal of cheating that person in need.
People started complaining to Google about these so-called businesses and their unethical approaches. There were so many fake locksmiths that Google decided to suspend and blacklist all business listings using the term “locksmith”. No one knows how long this will last. This has severely impacted the online presence of legitimate locksmiths in your area.
Google has a number of steps it takes to verify a business. But, you’d do well to do the same for yourself. The following are a few of the steps you can take:
Part of the point for local business listings is that the business is physically located in a given city. For instance, A-1 Locksmith of the Palm Beaches Inc., has a well-known physical location within the city of West Palm Beach and has serviced the community for over 23 years. Fake locksmiths usually don’t have a physical address or they use a fake one.
As a consumer, you should see if you can actually find the business at the address listed.
Google Local Business Profile
In the map listings, Google displays a Google Local Business Profile. A legitimate locksmith company like A-1 Locksmith of the Palm Beaches Inc. fills that profile out completely and gets it verified.
Typically, that verification process involves calling the business phone number. You could do the same to get a feel for the business. While it isn’t a guarantee, often you can tell if a business is professional or not simply by how they handle the call.
Google takes consumer reviews seriously. It should because the majority of shoppers base buying decisions on online reviews. Google uses the number of reviews that a business has and the score of those reviews to rank sites. Local businesses, like A1 Locksmith of the Palm Beaches Inc., that offer quality services and products – and get positive consumer reviews – get higher rankings.
Do your own due diligence and look up business reviews for prospective locksmiths. See what people say about them. Analyze the comments. Do they look like real honest reviews? Choose a locksmith service that has a majority of 4 and 5 star reviews.
It is hugely unfortunate that you need to verify business listings yourself and that you cannot rely on a search engine like Google to weed out the cheaters. However, that may be an impossible undertaking as criminals always figure out new ways to work the system.
The only real way to protect yourself from fake locksmiths is to make sure they’re legit before you allow them to work for you.
For more information on how you can choose a reputable and trusted locksmith visit A-1 Locksmith of the Palm Beaches Inc. at http://www.a1gmtlocksmith.com/blog/. Contact us by calling (561) 964-6114 if you have a locksmith need.