FAKE ONLINE LOCKSMITHS—A WARNING ABOUT SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS. Tyler Cowen on the Marginal Revolution website calls this article by David Segal in the New York Times “one of the most interesting pieces I have read in weeks”.
Imagine you are locked out of your car and need a locksmith. You google “locksmith” and get names under the paid ads. You would think these are local service companies. However, the first items on the list are often call centers from out of state or even from another country. These are known as “lead gens”, short for “lead generators”, and they will be skilled in bait and switch tactics.
Other services that are candidates for this kind of scam are garage door repair, auto glass repair, carpet cleaning, moving and home security. I am chagrined that I was taken once by this kind of scam for computer repairs.