Locksmiths flock to Google Maps forum demanding solution

There have been a number of recent posts in the Google Maps forums from apparently legitimate locksmiths that have raised the issue of illegal locksmith activities to new levels.

One locksmith has apparently gone to the extent of hiring a private investigator to track down the locksmith scam artists and posted personal detail about the man he believes is responsible for the activity:

Below you will see some of this person’s information including websites, phone numbers, aliases, relatives, rip off reports, lawsuit information, and scam complaints. Hayim Bennamer’s current partner is Nir Sibsony. You can view Hayim Bennamer on Facebook under the name “Mike Ben Namer” Date of Birth Aug-30-1974

Hayim Bennamer is currently the owner/president/registered agent of Reliable Locksmith in Miami. A locksmith company that has many rip off reports associated with them. Reliable Locksmith has been know for scams, complaints, unfair competition with other locksmiths as well as many other fraudulent activities. Below you will find Reliable Locksmith’s incorporation information from the Florida Department of Corporations. If you put in google search reliable locksmith scams or reliable locksmith rip-off, or their associated phone numbers with scam and/or rip off in the end, you will immediately see some of the scams within the locksmith and moving company industries.

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS INFORMATION WAS GATHERED BY THE HIRING OF A PRIVATE INVESTIGATION COMPANY TO INVESTIGATE AND RESEARCH THE PERSON OR PERSONS INVOLVED SCAMS, FRAUD AND DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES. THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT ONLY SCAMMING THE CUSTOMERS BUT THEY ARE A THREAT TO OTHER LOCKSMITHS, MOVERS AND CARPET CLEANERS, ETC.

Another has challenged the scammers to meet at his place of business and accused the Yellowpages.com of being complicit with them. He noted that the scammers were Cowards and that:

I state here and now that I have evidence to support that yellowpages.com in particular is sleeping with you in this whole affair as many legitimate locksmiths are actually being scammed by yellowpages.com into thinking they need to heighten their internet presence amidst all the laughable supply of locksmith listings. I agree with the earlier post that any legitimate locksmith deciding where to invest advertising dollars online to keep a tight hold on their wallet until these fools either get mudered, thrown in jail or buried under 20 feet or earth. Prove to me you are not cowards by meeting me. My address: 124 Price Station Rd. Church Hill MD 21623 My phone number 410-556-6250. I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which protect my country and guard our American way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

The post has been modified somewhat since last night and now includes this snippet as well:

I hereby offer $5000 CASH reward to ANY individual who can escort me to the mastermind of this criminal enterprise.They must be able to prove it by showing me their domain manager account and third party telco listings. You are dealing with a monster, any veteran of MLA knows it and I am anxious to die in my effort to defeat you.

Google seems to have begun to step into the breach as it appears that, at least in NYC, much of the spam that I noted on February 25th for the phrase Emergency Locksmiths NY NY has been replaced with legitimate looking listings. It remains to be seen if spam has been removed countrywide.

Here are before and after screenshots of the Local 10 Pack for the phrase Emergency Locksmiths NY NY.

Before (2/25/09):

Emergency Locksmtih NY NY Mapspam

After (03/05/09)

picture-5

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Locksmiths flock to Google Maps forum demanding solution by

30 thoughts on “Locksmiths flock to Google Maps forum demanding solution”

  1. I wouldn’t say “removed”…the A listing points to a florist’s website in Los Angeles & it is clearly an outlier from the centroid. Nonetheless, it looks a heckuva lot better than it did!

  2. Yes, I wouldn’t, after looking more deeply, say removed either. Whether it is it standard response to the immediate problem (ie just pull down what was reported) or a bigger solution that deals with it somewhat systemically, I still not sure.

    Mike

  3. Dang, Mike, this is getting heated, isn’t it? I’m especially alarmed by the American fighting man. People are really angry. You can’t blame them at all, but their language is over the top. I am very glad to see those NY screenshots. Google and YP need to get with it with this. Ugly emotions are cropping up everywhere. Pretty scary stuff.

  4. Very ugly…it is definitely not the warm and cuddly of the florist industry thats for sure.

    I wonder what “MLA” refers to?

    Mike

  5. You can’t believe what these guys have done now. Over the weekend the scammers stole listings from MAJOR hotels and restaurants and changed the listings to locksmith. I’m talking Ramada, Hilton, Radisson. BIG Hotels and restaurants have HUNDREDS of reviews, citations, and user data. So putting such strong listings in a category where the top guy has 71 reviews and 20 webpages well….you can figure out the rest. I have to give these guys credit though. From a black hat view point this was genius. This was pulled off in 48 hours. They did this in all the major markets – New York, Dallas, Chicago, Philly, etc. Think about it.

    Major hotels and restaurant chains aren’t thinking local. They are worried about their TV, Radio, Pay Per Click Ads. So of course there are a lot of listing out there to be claimed. They big guys just aren’t thinking about it. So almost the whole ten pack (9 out of 10) is crooks. Just do a search for locksmith nyc and locksmith new york and you’ll see.

    I did some research and found the criminals. See the information below.

    We called and threatened to contact the law. The thieves are brazen and defiant when confronted – believing they cannot be punished. The person we spoke with over the telephone addressed us using profanity and dared us to try and stop them.

    http://casatuadesign.com/ (main website) http://www.24x7locallocksmith.com, masterslocksmith.com, locksmith-fast.com, locksmith-superior.com, http://www.asapsmithpro.com, http://www.locksmith-24×7.official.ws, .

    Whois Searches
    http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=locksmith-superior.com&prog_id=godaddy
    http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=locksmith-fast.com&prog_id=godaddy
    http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=masterslocksmith.com&prog_id=godaddy
    http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=24x7locallocksmith.com&prog_id=godaddy
    http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=asapsmithpro.com&prog_id=godaddy
    http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=casatuadesign.com&prog_id=godaddy

    This is just crazy. I just have to sit back and laugh…to keep from crying.

  6. The people resposible for the locksmith hijacking work under at least two different company names: Dependable Lock and Locksmith Around the Clock, which are both based in FL. The latter I believe is in Deerfield. One of the people’s names is Yaron, although from what I’ve gathered from questioning other locksmiths, there are 4 friends conspiring together. They need to be stopped, as they always lie to customers, telling them the total cost of lock-out service is $54 but when they arrive and after they open the door for you, the price is significantly more. In order to stop them, the exact location of their main offices (in FL) must be found and the “bosses” confronted face to fist.

  7. With the demise of the Yellow Page print industry (Idearc filing chapter 11), the web search industry is due for another shot in the arm. So the challange of mapspam, hijacking, listing and review fraud is even greater than before.

    In California we have just documented over 60,000 fraudulent locksmith listings in Google alone. Since there is a law that lowers what is illegal to “aid and abet and unlicensed locksmith” and carries a $10,000 fine, I can only hope that $600 million in potential fines is enough to get someone at Google to wake up and smell the refried beans.
    Come on Google,
    it’s just not that hard to get the real deal listings from the state regulatory agencies. There is a reason that states regulate some businesses. Do it before you are fined or forced, or both.

    In other news;
    The first state to fire a shot across a bow of web search is Missouri with their demand by the State Attorney General to Yellowpages.com to drop ALL the unlicensed and fraudulent locksmith listings. They gave them 5 days, and I believe that 5 days is up on Good Friday. The Attorney General has appeared on TV, and seems determined. If Google and other directories don’t fix it soon, they will have states telling them what they can, and can not do. I don’t believe that was on anyone’s radar, but both State and Federal oversight could really shake things up.

  8. Glenn

    Thanks for stopping by with the update. Do you have the details of the 60,000 fraudulent listings? How did you document them?

    Mike

  9. Mike,

    Thanks for asking.

    We did the count the old fashioned way. We did the search for “locksmiths San Diego” and for the top 50 cities in the state. Printed them out (there are 10 to a page) used 2+ cases of paper! (man was my wife, the office manager pissed)
    Went through checked off and deducted all those listed on the State site with a locksmith license at:
    http://www2.dca.ca.gov/pls/wllpub/wllqryna$lcev2.startup?p_qte_code=LC&p_qte_pgm_code=2420
    Loose the pages took 3 Staples paper case boxes to fill. So 60,000 is likley a small number. I delivered to the District Attorney, who is trying to get permission to pursue this case. If the District Attorney files and wins the case, they, and not the state, get to keep the money. She likley won’t get it as it would be a huge case and take lots of resources, but we can hope.

    I don’t want Google to get hit up with the fines, but I am drop-dead serious about getting the directories to clean their mess up.

    -Glenn

  10. These guys are only getting smarter. They now are buying dozens of website names and flooding the google adwords so that their listings will dominate both the free and paid listings. This has driven the price of a first page phoenix locksmith listing up ~300% last year.

    Their websites and adword listings quote prices that no legitimate locksmith can quote so they can get the business. It’s killing us in Phoenix. Not only are they taken out initial business, but they take all repeat business because once they are used no one trust locksmiths.

    My company got calls from two clients last week. Both decide to go with the other guys ‘cheap’ quote. Both called us back to tell us they wish they had listened when we tried to warn them about local locksmith fraud.

    You can read about Phoenix locksmith fraud on our website within the knowledge center.

  11. Robert,
    Google AMDOCS. There seems to be a connection there. I’ve heard from that name on 3 different blogs. Locksmtihs, Florist, fire systems inspectors. There have been people arrested or questioned that all gave the name AMDOCS as an employer. This might explain how there were able to blitz the listings so fast.

  12. Finally it seems like Google is working to fix these….they recently released a patch making it harder to steal listings and group unrelated phone numbers together. Its about time!

  13. Just wonder why harold Fink, the american fighting man is talking trash about a company that does basiclly the same thing that he does, get a bunch of business names and phone #’s that all ring to Harold Finks phone. No employees , no locations just a bunch of crap. AND MLA??, THAT IS THE MARYLAND LOCKSMITH ASSOCIATION, the org that Harold stole their website, he was the president or webmaster or something of the sort and he set up the site and when he became persona non grada he kept the domain name and directs it to his website, Harold is also a criminal, been charged with misuse of telephone,(calling and threatning another local locksmith named Mike of ABC Lock & Key i think. What a low life, Harold is now teaming up with Baldino’s Lock & Key out of Virginia and trying to lock down every variation of website domain and registering all the trade names, give me a break, build your business on your reputation not how many damn names and calls you can get by monopolizing the yellow pages and google search results.

  14. I own a small company in the Phoenix area, I have been repeatedly hijacked by spam locksmiths. This problem needs to be fixed before all of the real locksmiths are out of business!

  15. This is really bad, they need to be stopped, its not fair on the real locksmiths! I don;t know how they can get away with that, crazy!

  16. Dependable Take my listing from me had to call goole to get it back a lot of red tape… Cant beleve this crap goes on……

  17. I Have know clue they allso took my yahoo listing i call yahoo and they just hung up on me i wish i know how they did it know one will tell me so i just keep my eyes on my listings now

  18. Locksmith money trail leads here.

    El-Ad Group, (El Ad US Holding, Inc.) is a real estate development conglomerate based in Israel. Among its subsidiaries is New York City-based Elad Properties, which owns several landmark properties in that city and in May 2007 purchased the New Frontier Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for a record $1.2 billion. The ElAd Group is a subsidiary of Delek Group, owned by Yitzhak Tshuva, a self-made businessman with assets around $4 billion.

  19. I think this is a nationwide scam. I got locked out of my house tonight and Googled “San Diego Locksmith” and picked the one that said they were licensed and insured and that advertised the fastest arrival time. The one I picked was called San Diego Locksmith and Emergency Lockout Service. They quoted me $39 over the phone, and charged me $204 for the job. I am furious. So I did some digging and found something revealing: almost that whole first page of Google listings–which appear to be different companies with different web addresses, phone numbers, and listed postal addresses–actually belong to this same company. They’re under at least a dozen names, probably more, just in San Diego alone. And I’m hearing of this scam in other major cities, though I’m not sure if the master company overseeing all of this is one entity or multiple corporations. One consistent feature is the multiple company names and web listings, and the huge discrepancy between the quote over the phone and the charged price for service. What can one do about this? It’s a massive scam, and the people who are trying to report it don’t realize that the name of the company they’re trying to report is fake and irrelevant. Oh and the worst part? When you Google “San Diego Locksmith Fraud” the first listings are this fraudulent company’s “information” pages! No joke!

  20. Regarding the post just above mine, comment 27 by JDandy. You might have the big answer I’m looking for regarding my San Diego experience. Most of the sites I’ve identified as fraudulent are listed at the bottom as belonging to an “AD San Diego Locksmith,” sometimes just listed as “San Diego Locksmith,” but usually the “Ad” is at the bottom of the page. I’m wondering if the “AD” connects to “El-Ad” group as you’ve referenced.

  21. I am aware of someone who is running what I think are locksmith scams-this man once had a license, but was arrested and it was revoke. Now he has what he calls an advertisement company. What he does is flood the internet with ads, takes calls from one location, calls his local friends and they split the fees, which are most likely doubled. I have plenty of evidence and have recently sent to tax people and public safety in to States. Hoping they put him out of business FOREVER.

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