Take a look online or at your phone book and you will see dozens of locksmiths, many using fake addresses and names. Most of these fake companies multi-list and fleece millions from local residents, as well as visitors.
They come from Florida and New York and are highly organized, or so they appear. It has been reported that they use intimidation and threats when the customer is in a vulnerable situation.
As much as the stories have been highlighted for years, some of these frauds still exist, with others re-inventing themselves and entering other lucrative professions. To bust them, police officers have gone undercover and posed as shoppers locked out of their car outside a store. The “locksmith’s company” is called by this “fraught” shopper. The call is conveniently routed to some other company and when “help” finally arrives in a van that is unmarked, the person will say that they were sent by a third company.
The initial quote of $30 is hiked to $50 and he actually says that the customer is lucky as other companies were charging more than $100 for the same job.
When arrested, the man who is an Israeli citizen on the 2nd day of his job denied knowing how the three firms were connected. The man, Eli Levy, had no driver’s license, work card or business license.
Joe Esposito, the owner of a locksmith’s outfit, advocates for the criminal background checks that are often advised. The professionals hold skills and knowledge that could harm a person in a big way. To him these people are licensed burglars. Most scam outfits are just phone numbers with numerous ads everywhere, particularly on the Internet.
Since taxes are not paid for most of these employees with no work cards and no background checks done, tracking them is almost impossible.
Some of the drivers who were busted were sent from the same locksmith’s dispatch.
Like Human Trafficking
The police compared the trade to human trafficking. They use the sting operations to gather information, as well as communicate a message. Levy said that for him he worked part time and was sick and since he had to eat the job was not stealing.
The fake addresses can be of event centers, an airport, in one case McCarran Airport outside Las Vegas, and fast food places, among other sites.
The complaints from customers usually involve hiking up locksmiths Toronto prices and even refusing to leave if they are not paid.