Internet Locksmith Scammers Getting
The YOUR Big Bucks
–C A FitzPatrick NRI CML
Different scamster “locksmiths” have different tactics. In a CBS Atlanta News investigation caught “Atlanta Solution Locksmith” in the act.
They found this scam artist’s strategy to lure in and ripoff customers. This company has registered THOUSANDS of different fraudulent “locksmith” names with different fake company websites that pretend to be in different locations, all over the internet.
The thousands of different local phone numbers displayed on each website are diverted to a central call center in Dunwoody. The websites are stuffed with keywords and backlinks to direct the unsuspecting public and their hard earned money to the owner
– Asher Asaf Uziel.
All of the websites were registered in his own name. Most of the registrations have since been removed. He still has a facebook page in his name.
Tens of thousands of people have fallen victim to this web of deciet by not researching the company. Almost impossible to do when one is in a vulnerable position and needs help quickly. One of those victims in Midtown Atlanta is Hollie Holler. She didn’t know the company she hired, she just called the first thing that popped up on Google, resulting in being forced into paying a thief $232 to get her keys back.
“I was angry but there wasn’t anything I could do about it,” said Holler, who didn’t know the low rating of the locksmith she hired.
There are many more complaints according to the Atlanta Better Business Bureau.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection hired the company in the “urgent situation.” During the undercover operation, the quote given over the phone was $29 plus labor. They ended up being charged $113! My question is, since this was an official investigation, why weren’t Uziel and his ‘locksmith’ arrested? Why weren’t his office/call center and home raided, computers and bank accounts seized? He was only fined $111,897.40. The state got $100k of that, leaving a paltry $11,897.40 for the bilked customers (which they could find) to split up. By theft, Uziel drives a BMW and owns a house worth $1.3 MILLION. $100k is a small price to pay, there is no telling how much he has actually amassed with this fraud.When the news reporter approached him, he just ran off and hid – VIDEO
Sadly, more scammer locksmiths have established themselves around Atlanta and nationwide. These fake companies have damaged the reputation of legitimate locksmiths.
Burt Kolker, owner of a 45-year old locksmith company in Sandy Springs says his business is slowly losing and getting a bad reputation because these phonies have stolen his name. “I think I’ve lost 40 percent of my business,” he said. The biggest loser however is the public, with hundreds of millions of dollars stolen anually from the pockets of hard working Americans. Do your research BEFORE you need a locksmith. If you are locked out and they tell you a dollar figure AND UP or PLUS LABOR or the ‘technician’ determines the price. You are about to get ripped off.
Almost 80% of cars can be opened with a single tool and similar technique, another 8 or 9% can be opened with 2 more tools. I have about 47 or so tools to cover the last 12%. NO ONE NEEDS TO SEE YOUR CAR FIRST, for an auto lockout, the entire price should be given to you over the phone. Average price during daylight hours – is about $50.
Checking Google the other morning using the search term “locksmith 30043” I came across 6 listings. The first was for Gwinnett Locks and Keys, a local locksmith just across highway 20 from me. They are legitimate. Unfortunately the other 5 were not. Here is what I found:
Lawrenceville Locksmith Guys
Avilon Lock Change & Rekey Service
Make a car key in Lawrenceville
All Around Car Key & Automotive Service
Aborn Lockouts Service
You will notice that 3 of the phone numbers are exactly the same and the rest have the first 8 digits the same.
I found the same thing last December, there were over 70 different listings using 48 different phone numbers, all the numbers had the same first 8 digits and of course some of the numbers were reused. Some of them had 5 listings using the same phone numbers covering the entire N Metro area. I didn’t check to see how many there were this time, so I’m only using the first page of Google listings as an example.
A tactic of the scammer ‘locksmith’ is to spam the internet with multiple listings to increase the chances of the unsuspecting public calling them so they can rob you. In the example above, Google returned 6 total listings, A – F. 5 of these listings were fraudulent and all 5 connected to the same scamster company which is most likely out of state. This is inferred by the fraudulent reviewers activity. There are actually more than 20 connected to this single out of state company in the surrounding cities, but we are focusing just on Lawrenceville for now.
Having the same and similar phone numbers means the scammer has purchased a bank of local phone numbers. This accomplishes 4 things:
1)to make you believe that each number is a different company, giving the illusion of choice.
2) to spam the listings so legitimate and honest locksmiths won’t be found.
3) to make you believe they are local so you won’t have to wait. And finally…
4) the ultimate goal is to steal from you.
Additionally, each listing had a single fraudulent 5 review. The reviews were posted under some obviously false names; Mccaffery Myler, Bowman Arvidson , Lowrey Stutes , Mercurio Sunseri and Korhonen Hargrove. Clicking on these names will take you to the Google+ review pages associated with the false names. All but one have posted 10 separate 5 reviews for fake locksmiths in 4 different states! The odd one out only posted 9.
There is a concerted effort afoot to steal as much money as can be bullied out of you – So, when you are searching Google for your locksmith and you see a good Google review, check out the reviewer, check the other listings for similar phone numbers. You will save yourself a lot of heartache and more importantly, your hard earned cash.
Please do your research, find your locksmith BEFORE you need him or her.
You could do it yourself, you could have a friend attempt it, or you could call one of several different people. A police officer, a tow truck driver, or even a parking lot attendant.
YOU SHOULD CALL A LOCKSMITH.
Auto makers are making it harder and tougher for thieves to break into your car, which makes it harder for anyone to get into your car without a key, a good thing too.
Locksmiths are trained professionals, we have special tools, designed to open locked cars without damaging the interior of the door, pulling or bending the linkage rods, breaking the glass or damaging the door electrical system, sometimes this could cause a fire and actually destroy your auto. When a locksmith arrives to open your car, he knows what he is looking for and will not randomly poke around in your door cavity tearing away wires, breaking glass, or the lock itself. You will be on your way quickly.
Good Locksmiths are bonded and insured, which means if any damage does result, it will be taken care of quickly. It is a good idea to ask if your local locksmith is insured, for your protection.
A police officer can enforce the law, or write a ticket and guard the public safety.
A tow truck driver can tow you home, even give you a jump start. A parking lot attendant or security guard can keep the parking lot safe, even help you with your packages. All of these people are trained in their jobs, and most do them well, but most of these people are NOT TRAINED TO UNLOCK CARS. If one of these people damages your car, in most instances there is no recourse, a $45 to $65 locksmith charge is preferable to $150 to $600 (more if your car catches fire from broken wiring) to repair your door or replace the glass. It is possible one of these people can actually open your car, but you don’t know for sure. With a Locksmith, you know you are getting a trained professional.
Be cautious of any company who tells you they are sending a “tech”. A Locksmith is not a ‘tech’. This is a term many of the scammer companies use for their unlicensed and UNTRAINED subcontractors, the only training they possess is how to rip you off.
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