Licensed locksmiths are warning consumers about a new breed of online imposters.
The so-called “ghost locksmiths” place deceptive Google advertisements that make it seem like they operate out of storefronts on main streets around America.
In reality the ads are mirages that lead, not to local merchants, but to far-flung call centers that dispatch mostly anonymous, unlicensed men who call themselves locksmiths.
“These people are ghosts. You can’t find them,” says Paul Gibilisco, a master locksmith who operates out of Old Bridge, NJ.
“They use fake addresses to make people feel comfortable that they’re local,” says David Rible, a master locksmith who operates out of Point Pleasant, NJ. “These people are coming out making the locksmith industry as a whole look like rip-off artists.”
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