Locksmiths Using Other Business Addresses

BBB Investigating Possible Scam

Mercy Rivera has run Leo’s Place for more than 20 years in Johnstown.

“It’s a bar and grill,” said Rivera. “Before us, it was a pool hall. The one thing it hasn’t been is a locksmith place.”

But in the local phone book, A4U Locksmith lists the same address as her bar.

A company called All Locksmith Services lists the same address as her home.

She decided to call and found out that both phone numbers rang the same call center.

”I told her, ‘For one thing, it’s upsetting me. For another thing, you’re using my address. Are you going to give me commission on this?’ And she hung up on me,” said Rivera.

She is not the only area business or home address being used by locksmith companies in on-line and phone book listings.

One lists the address of Johntown’s Discount Liquor.

Another is actually the Johnstown Dominoes Pizza.

“Anybody knows Johnstown doesn’t have eight or nine locksmiths,” said Jeannie Boxford, with All About Locksmithing, a BBB accredited locksmith service in Loveland.

She first noticed the fake addresses all over the area and said there are dozens more.

”We were shocked to see they used King Soopers and McDonald’s and Justine’s pizza and places like that,” she said.

The Better Business Bureau is now investigating.

”Right away we could see there were some strong red flags,” said Barbara Read with the BBB. ”An out-of-town or out-of-state company just sets up temporary addresses so they look real. They look local.”

She said in similar scams, locksmith services will quote a price on the phone and then add extra fees once they arrive. The FTC warns of scams where, “some disreputable companies list street addresses to give the impression that they’re local. But the addresses may belong to other businesses or vacant lots, if they exist at all.” Calls to many of the numbers showed they went to the same answering service.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Web site showed many of the businesses listed under pilfered addresses are registered under the same person’s name and all formed on the same date, June 17, 2009.

The Denver address listed with the Secretary of State is a Burger King.

We were unable to contact the owner, but talked to an operator, who denied operating in the area.

The Better Business Bureau said people who used the service may not even realize they have been scammed because they don’t know what normal locksmith procedures are.

The BBB is encouraging anyone who has used these services to contact them.