“Ghost” Locksmiths Crowd Google

Consumers warned about deceptive advertisements Licensed locksmiths are warning consumers about a new breed of on-line imposters. The so-called “ghost locksmiths” place deceptive Google advertisements that make it seem like they operate out of store-fronts on main streets around America. (and Australia) In reality the ads are mirages that lead, not to local merchants, but to far-flung call centres 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.” New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York City all require locksmiths go through some sort of licensing process. When NBCNew York summoned a suspected “ghost locksmith” to Teaneck, New Jersey the man who arrived in an unmarked SUV could not produce a state-mandated ID card. New Jersey requires that locksmiths carry the card when responding to jobs.  Locksmiths in New Jersey must also complete 40 hours of training and undergo a criminal background check. “People who are licensed, like myself, the state knows who we are.  We’re easily obtainable,” Gibilisco says. Consumer advocates also warn that “ghost locksmiths” often try to scam customers with bait-and-switch tactics.  NBC News York called several phone numbers associated with phantom locksmith store-fronts   All of the dispatchers quoted a low introductory price, but refused to guarantee a final price. “If they get the year, make, model and where [the vehicle] is located, they should...

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