Why Google Maps is being used to pepper the streets with fake locksmiths and other tradespeople
In a recent source, we found that more and more customers are finding their chosen tradespeople online. Instead of the Yellow Pages or the Thomson Local, they are turning to search engines or Google Maps. Unlike printed sources, there is less scrutiny online. In your locality, there could be bogus tradespeople on Google Maps. For example, fake locksmiths in seemingly random locations.
If genuine, the map pin could have been placed in the wrong street. In September 2016, we created a useful guide on avoiding fake locksmiths and many of the points are relevant today. Just to recap, we recommend:
- Visiting review sites like Yelp;
- Checking the Institute of Certified Locksmiths’ website;
- Browsing on local directories or the classified sections of newspaper’s websites;
- Visiting the Companies House website, or a due diligence-orientated site like Duedil
- (subscriptions may be required for access to extra services);
- Word of mouth.
Never underestimate word of mouth. If you know someone who has hired any tradesperson, ask them about their experience. You might find reference to his or her chosen tradesperson’s work on your friend’s social media accounts.
Most importantly, never use the internet as your sole source for seeking tradespeople. One side effect of the internet’s popularity is the proliferation of fake traders. This has a negative effect on established tradespeople and genuine locksmiths like our company. Some scammers are using Google Maps to elbow genuine tradespeople off the Top Ten listings. They win and the customers suffer.
Thankfully, something is being done about fake locksmiths and phoney plumbers. Google is working with computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego to stop them peddling their wares.
CPPM Locksmiths, 04 May 2017.