Google Lists a Machine is the Biggest “Locksmith” in the Country

Google Fake Business Listings: A Key Duplication Kiosk Becomes the Top Locksmith

Google is suppose to be smart. They are a high-tech company solving high-tech problems, but once again, they have been beaten by an unscrupulous company. One company, KeyMe has figured out Googles weakness and is exploiting it to their full advantage and the consumer’s detriment.

Google Thinks This Company Has Thousands of Locksmith Shops
Google Thinks This Company Has Thousands of Locksmith Shops

Google thinks every marker on this small map is a locksmith shop. Why? Because they are all listed under the category “locksmith” with a business location shown. But go to one, and you will find they are fake listings. There is no locksmith shop at any of these locations. There is just a key copying machine. There is no locksmith that can program your car key, fix your lock, make a key for your lock, sell you door hardware, duplicate a barrel key, provide high security locks or any of the hundreds of services real locksmith shops perform.

There are over 50 fake locksmith business listings of this one company in the Phoenix market alone. Furthermore, the company states that they will have 10,000 fake locksmith listings (i.e. Kiosks) in the US soon.

Why is This Against Google Policy?

Google, and all phone services search software, triggers off of geography. They figure, if you are searching for a coffee shop, you want a coffee shop that is near your current location. Makes sense right?

So a decade ago or so big scam and fraud companies starting to take advantage of this. They created thousands of fake business listings, all with addresses, in the search engines. The idea was that no matter where you were searching from, you get one of these fake locations at the top of your search, and that is the listing that most people choose to click.

So by listing thousands of fake businesses on Google, they could dominate internet search for practically no expense (i.e. free advertising).

Search engines have since caught on, and prohibit the use of fake addresses. To verify a business Google started mailing post cards with codes to customers. This was suppose to prevent the fake business listings.

Furthermore, Google’s policy now specifically states:

Service-area businesses that serve customers at their locations—should have one page for the central office or location and a designated service area. Service-area businesses can’t list a “virtual” office unless that office is staffed during business hours.

Google also clearly states in their policies in bold print: Never make false, misleading, or unrealistic claims.

KeyMe intentionally and misleadingly violates Googling listing policy in order to dominate Google search results and take business away from local, legitimate, honest locksmith companies (that follow Google guidelines).

I have no idea how KeyMe got around the postcard mailing to verify these addresses as Locksmith locations. The kiosks are within other stores and have no staff on site to receive and verify the address.

Does This Look Like a Locksmith?

Why Fake Google Listings Matter to You

  1. You get a poor consumer experience.
    • When you call a locksmith at a given address, you expect a locksmith at that address. You want a local company to take care of your needs. KeyMe is neither local nor have a locksmith at that address. Though they list 1,000s of local phone numbers, every single one of them goes to an out-of-state dispatch center (unless you happen to be in the state the dispatch center is in).
    • You are a smart shopper, you know that when you take your lock needs into a locksmith shop, you save money. So you take off the lock, get in your car, and drive to your local KeyMe “locksmith.” What you find is you’ve wasted your time and effort because you went to a fake business location. There is no locksmith at any of these thousands of fake business listings.
  2. They take money out of your local community. Money spent in your local community tends to stay in your local community. To support jobs, schools, streets, etc…Every dollar spend out of state, stays out of state.
  3. They’re hurting your local locksmiths. Legitimate locksmiths, that are following Google rules for their business listing, are loosing calls to these fake listings. Google listings are geographical based. When every search shows a KeyMe because that KeyMe is thought to be the closest “locksmith” every call they get is one less call that a real local, rule following locksmith company owner is going to miss.
  4. Will they treat you honestly? For legal reasons I can’t say that they won’t. But I can tell you, they’ve already lied to you by creating the fake business listings! They told you they had a locksmith shop in a location where there is not one. Why would they then suddenly become trustworthy and sincere?

Will Google Fix This Attempt to Trick You?

To Google’s credit, after major news coverage on national and local television shows about the previous fake locksmith listings, Google began efforts to clean up the fake google map locations. They had been making great headway in stopping this sort of behavior.

However, for at least the past three months, I know that this issue has been reported to Google from locksmiths across the county. But nothing has been done.

Suggest an Edit and Change the Classification
KeyMe is certainly a key duplication service, with machines that do just that at every address they list, but they are not a locksmith shop.

Requests to Google to fix the issue have gone ignored.

You can report these fake business locations using one of two methods. Maybe with enough reports, Google will address it.

  • Click on a KeyMe business within Google Maps. Look for the suggest and edit link. Click that link and change the classification to “key duplication.”
  • On a bigger scale, you can report a major issue by filling out the Google Redressal Complaint Form.

Neither has worked thus far, but with enough traction, maybe Google will notice the fake business classification.

Who is KeyMe and Why Are They Now Lying to You?

KeyMe started business as a Phone app. You could take a picture of your key and they would mail you copy. We wrote a security piece on them once. I posed as a jealous boyfriend wanting to make a copy of my girlfriend’s key to get into her house when she wasn’t home. After I told them as much, they were still happy to assist. See what they told me here! Update: I’ve recently learned that KeyMe has stopped making keys from photos and it’s about time!

Do Not Duplicate Keys Will be Copied in Kiosks
KeyMe moved into making key machines. Customers could put a copy of their key into a machine for a quick duplicate. They placed those machines in Fry’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other stores. The machines allow anyone to make a copy of any standard key, even do not duplicate keys (DND). So if you want a copy of your boss/company’s DND key, this machine will make it.

KeyMe now wishes to expand into the locksmith business. And realizing they can manipulate Google’s mapping algorithm have a major advantage to remove local competition.

KeyMe Locksmith Dominates Google with Fake Listings

In the beginning, KeyMe listed their key machines as a “Key Duplication Service” within Google maps. This is allowed. Listing an address with their key machines allowed anyone looking for a key copy to go to the location and get a key copy made. This is legit, and they have nearly 10,000 kiosks across the united states.

But when they changed their strategy and started misrepresenting themselves. They violated Google listing policy by changing all of those key duplication listings to “locksmith” listings.

This is Not a Locksmith Location

So KeyMe, overnight, became the largest locksmith service in the country without having a single locksmith shop by violating Google policies that have been put in place to keep a level playing field.

In Phoenix alone there are over 50 KeyMe Locksmith “Shops.” They show up in Google Maps high on list of any search for a locksmith no matter where you are searching from.

Why has Google allowed this? I don’t know. Their efforts were going well and there is a pretty tight review process now for locksmiths to get a location listed in Google Maps, but KeyMe has found a way to scam Google’s system and Google doesn’t seem to have it as a priority right now.




Disclosure: As an Amazon / Google Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.

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Are There Any Locks That Can’t be Picked?

Are There Any Locks That Can’t be Picked?

Can Every Lock be Picked?

We recently started our YouTube Channel where I discuss our favorite locks. Often we’re talking about the best locks for a specific function.

Lock Picking
Can Every Lock Be Picked?
For example, “What’s the best lock to stop lock bumping,” What’s the best padlock to just keep honest people honest,” etc…

We see a lot of comments about how a specific lock can be bypassed, “That lock can be picked using XYC….” or “So and so shows how to bypass that lock.”

The reality is that nearly every lock can be picked and if not picked, bypassed using some other method. The secret to security is having locks that are extremely difficult to pick and or bypassed. You want a pick-resistant lock that only an expert can get through, and there are plenty of those.

Jump to:

Why Are Locks Easy to Pick Now?
Why Do People Release Lock Picking Information?
What Can I do to Stop Lock Picking?
Are There Any Locks that Can’t be Picked or Bypassed?

Why Can Nearly All Locks Be Picked or Bypassed?

It’s that dang internet. It’s not that locks are easier to pick, in fact they’ve become much harder to pick. But with the internet information is more widely available now than every before.

Lock Bumping Easily Unlocks a Door
In our Lock Bumping video, we talked about how to open a lock using lock bumping. This technique was used by locksmiths for many years and practically no-one knew of it. But with YouTube and other information being posted on line, now anyone with $3 for a key and an internet connection can now have everything they need to get into your home in just a few seconds (if you haven’t protected your home from this break-in technique).

There are YouTubers who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by creating videos showing people how to pick locks and bypass locks.

LockPickingLawyer
The LockPickingLawyer is one of the most popular. He will get a lock, tear it apart, figure out how to bypass it, and then post that information in a video for everyone to see. If you’ve got a lock, he likely has a video showing how to pick it.


 


In some cases, it’s not picking the lock that gets you past it. It’s some other technique that someone has figured out and posted a video one. Here’s one where we get into a locked door using a piece of plastic.

In other cases, special bypass tools have been built that target a specific brand of lock and allow someone to bypass it. These products are designed to get past specific locks and/or lock brands.

Why Do People Release Lock Picking Guides?

Depending on who you ask, you’ll get one of these three answers.

  1. Education. Even I have shown videos on how to pick locks or get into homes using a variety of techniques. It’s important that homeowners and business owners know where their security flaws are.
     
    The main difference between what I, a licensed locksmith at ACME Locksmith, do and what others are doing is that in each video I release, I show the viewer how to STOP someone from using that technique to bypass their locks.

    This piece of information that is so important. It is what separates those who putt you at risk from those helping you solve a problem.

  2. To Drive Technology. Someone releasing these videos might say that they are pushing lock manufactures to improve their locks and drive technology to create better security.
     
    I don’t really buy their argument though. Why? Because as soon as a new product is released to fix an existing issue, they get the new product, tear it down, and figure out how to pick or bypass the lock.

    So whatever jump in technology is made, money grabbers just figure out how to get passed it and then release that new information.

  3. Money. The prime motivation. There is a lot of money to be made on sites when you can achieve millions of followers.
     
    One site estimates the LockPickingLawyer can be making as much as $50,000 per month from his online lock picking videos. And, though he may have one, I haven’t found a single video of him recommending products that are the best for a given application or price point. You need this information to make sure your locks are the best you can afford for your situation.

How to Stop Lock Picking and Bypassing

Think about lock picking prevention as a 90/10 rule. 90% of the locks out there today can easily be bypassed by someone with limited skills. It may be lock picking or it may be using a bypass tool or other technique to get past the lock, but nearly all can be bypassed.

What’s the other 10%? These are the locks that would either require a lot of skill to pick or they are the locks that can’t be picked and require a lot of other types of effort to get past (drilling for example).

If you want locks that are in the 10%. Forget about buying anything you can get at a big box store. You need a locksmith and a specialty product or high security lock.

Here are Locks That Can’t be Easily Picked or Bypassed

Here are your out favorite pick-resistant (or pick proof) locks.

  1. High Security Locks.

    Most locks rely on a simple set of pins that align when a key is inserted to spin a cylinder. High security locks use other techniques in addition to the pins. Side bars and side dimples are the most common. These locks use keys that don’t look like you’re regular keys. Just about all high-security locks will offer you protection beyond what a common criminal will know.


    Mul-t-lock High Security on Amazon
    Our favorite most-secure brand is by Mul-t-lock. Their interactive lock has been bypassed using a custom specialty tool and by extremely practiced and skilled locksmith, but both are VERY rare and require an extreme amount of practice and patience. Most professional locksmiths will who their entire lives practicing their skills and not be able to pick these locks.

    You most-likely won’t run into someone trying to get into your property that has either. Your local locksmith may carry the Mul-t-lock product and that is the best place to get it since you’ll have a local source for the high-security keyway required, but you can also find Mul-t-lock priced extremely well on Amazon.

  2. Half Deadbolts – Pick Proof Lock.

    This is a great way to make your door 100% pick proof. However, unless you have experience prepping doors for new locks, you will want to hire a local locksmith to install it.

    Half deadbolts have NO keyhole on the outside of the lock. In fact, there is no indication from the outside of the door that a lock is even installed!

    You can read details of the lock in our webpage. It is absolutely the best lock you can put on your home to stop lock picking.

  3. Add On Security – Pick Proof After Market Product.

    Add-On Security Available on Our Website
    There is an add-on product that will turn any existing deadbolt into a pick-proof deadbolt. It works by locking the thumb turn of a deadbolt in place.

    Most people aren’t aware that when you use a key to turn a cylinder the thumb turn on the inside of the door rotates. When you lock the deadbolt thumb turn in place, the lock cannot be opened. It can be picked, and it can’t be opened even with a working key!

    This add-on product makes existing deadbolts pick proof. We carry this lock in all of our shops and we sell it on our website with free shipping.





Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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Understanding Lock Functions

Understanding Lock Functions

How Do Locks Work – Lock Functions: Passage, Entry, Storeroom, Classroom, Privacy

Locks behave differently based on their lock function. Do you want a lock that always locks every time the door closes? There’s a lock function for that. Do you want a lock that cannot be locked from the inside (only the outside) so that you never get locked out of a room? Yep, there’s a lock function for that too. Here are the most common types of lock functions.

What is a Passage Lock

Passage locks are used when doors do not need to be locked. There is no keyhole in a passage lock and no means to lock it. You’ll find these locks on hall closet or bedroom closet doors, pantries, supply rooms, etc…. Their main purpose is simply to prevent a door from swinging open once the door is closed.

Door Lock Functions

What is a Privacy Lock

Privacy locks can be locked from the inside to lock a room, but privacy locks do not require a key to unlock them from the outside.

Instead of a key, there is usually a simply tool that unlocks the lock. In homes, you see these most commonly installed on bedrooms and bathrooms.

In businesses, like retail clothing stores, you typically see them on dressing room doors. Just like the name implies, the offer privacy to the user but they are easily bypassed in case someone needs to get in for an emergency.

To lock a privacy set there is usually a thumb turn or a push button/turn. Some privacy locks installed in bathrooms on commercial buildings have an indicator to show the locked or unlocked status of the bathroom.

What are Storeroom Locks

Storeroom Locks are used when the outside lever needs to be locked at all times.

They require a key to unlock and open the door. There is no means to lock/unlock the door from the inside as it is always locked as soon as the door is closed. From the inside of the room, they can always be freely opened to exit the room.

You see these a lot in businesses when a business wants a commercial self locking door lock. Storeroom function locks can be used to secure storage rooms, mechanical rooms, and electrical rooms, for example (rooms that you want to restrict access to but don’t want anyone ever accidentally getting locked in).

When a storeroom lock is used there is often a door closer installed on the door to insure the door will not be left open and unsecured. The door closer automatically closes the door so that the room remains locked.

Some residential locks can be set so that they act like a storeroom function self locking lock. Typically by twisting the button on the inside of the lock while you push it in to lock the door. Many homeowners don’t realize this and we have had to unlock many homes because the door lock was accidentally put into it’s storeroom function.

What are Entry Locks / Entry Levers

Entry locks are controlled by a key in the outside cylinder and by a thumbturn, key or push button/turn on the inside. The use of the thumbturn/button provides the ability to lock the door or keep the door unlocked so a key is not required to enter for convenience to the user.

This type of lock should be used where unauthorized access is not a concern most of the time – like an office, home or storage closet door that you don’t want to be locked at all times.

What are Classroom Function Locks

Classroom locks are special locks that are controlled by a key on the outside of the door, just like an entry lock. However, the key can be used to set the lock up so that it will stay locked our unlocked. On the inside of the door, There is no method of locking or unlocking the door lock.

This function was originally designed for schools, to prevent students from tampering with the locks (i.e. locking everyone out of the classroom), but most new schools use classroom security locks (see below). A classroom function lock might also be used for a common office corridor or suite entry, where key control of the lock is needed, and a thumbturn or push button/turn is not desired.

Classroom Security Lock Function

Classroom Security Function Lock

Classroom Security Locks allow control of the outside lever via a typical key cylinder on BOTH sides of the door.

A teacher can lock her classroom door during a lock-down event without ever opening the door and possibly being exposed to an intruder in the corridor. In some areas these types of locks are required by law for school classrooms.

From inside the classroom, anyone can leave the room at any time, the key on the inside of the room only locks the external side of the lever. It is typically
keyed so that all of the inside cylinders on classroom doors are operated by the same key, or are operated by any key in the school’s master-key system.





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Lock Grading – ANSI Lock Grades Explained

Lock Grading – ANSI Lock Grades Explained

Lock Grades 1 2 3 Explained

The ANSI lock grading system was developed to setup a standard testing procedure to measure the strength and durability of a lock. The ANSI lock grade system provides an indication as to the quality of the lock being purchased. The system is composed of three Read more

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Safe Burglary Ratings – Burglary Ratings Explained

Safe Burglary Ratings – Burglary Ratings Explained

Purchasing a safe can be a big investment, but how do you know you’re getting the right safe for your needs? Safe burglary ratings can be very confusing. What do b-rated, c-rated, RSC, TL15, and TL30 burglar ratings mean? Here, I break down the common safe burglary ratings so you know what they are, and you can make a safe purchase with the confidence of understanding what level of security you are buying.

There are a couple systems for safe ratings (at least in the United States). One is developed by insurance companies, and mainly focuses on safe construction, and the other by Underwriters Laboratories (UL Safe Ratings), which offer test performance ratings. Read more

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What are the Arizona Pool Code Requirements?

What are the Arizona Pool Code Requirements?

Arizona Swimming Pool Code & Lock Requirements

Here in Arizona, home of Acme Locksmith, a good percentage of homes have in-ground swimming pools.  We have the perfect climate for them, and having a swimming pool means you can entertain in another space at your home almost the whole year round.  But a swimming pool can also be a hazard source, and each year we hear in the news of drownings; the saddest instances are when a small child is lost to a pool drowning.

Arizona Pool Code

For this reason, the State of Arizona, and Arizona cities, have building codes in effect for homes that have above-ground and in-ground swimming pools, applicable to all new construction and, generally, in the sale or transfer of existing homes. 

For Arizona, the pool code is found in Read more

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What Types of Locks are There (With Photos)

What Types of Locks are There (With Photos)

What Type of Locks are Available?

Lock Types
Common Lock Types & Functions

What types of locks are there? What do you want to secure a cabinet? Lock a gate? What is the difference between a latch and a bolt? We’ll Read more
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How to Secure Home Windows

How to Secure Home Windows

How to Secure Your Home Windows Against Break-ins

Protect Windows from Burglars

Adequate home security involves more than just your doors. While most break-ins occur through front, back, and garage entry ways, nearly a quarter of break-ins occur through windows. Read more

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How Much Does it Cost to Rekey a Business Lock?

How Much Does it Cost to Rekey a Business Lock?

When Should a Business Rekey Their Building?

When you’ve terminated an employee or just moved your business into a new location, perhaps maybe even a theft, it’s time to rekey you business locks. Rekeying your locks means that only authorized team members will have keys to your business (and even those employees will only have keys to the doors they need). But what does it cost to rekey a business? Read more

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How Much Does it Cost to Rekey House Locks?

How Much Does it Cost to Rekey House Locks?

How Much Does it Cost to Rekey A House Lock?

House Rekey
House Rekey

Just bought a home? Just tossed your roommate? Fired your cleaning crew or no longer need that house sitter? It’s time to rekey your locks! How much is a rekey? This post will give you the information you need to understand the rekeying process, and the costs associated with it. Read more

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How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Panic Bar

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Panic Bar

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Panic Bar?

An “Exit Device”, also known as a “Panic Bar” or “Crash Bar” is hardware designed to be installed on the secured side (inside) of a door which opens outward. It provides single motion, almost effortless, ease in exiting the door; while also providing security against intrusion. Most people never even think about them until something goes wrong and they stop operating correctly. Technically, these exit devices are either “Panic Hardware” or “Fire Exit Hardware.” The devices should be physically labeled as one or the other, and must meet the criteria to be labeled as such.

The following table summarizes the cost for specific Read more

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How Much Does It Cost to Get a Car Key Made?

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Car Key Made?

How Much Does it Cost for a Duplicate Car Key in Arizona?

Depending on the key type, it can cost as little as $7 to get a car key in Phoenix, AZ market, or as much as (and over) $600! Check out our chart Read more

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How to Change a Door Lock

How to Change a Door Lock

How to Replace an Existing Door Lock

Replacing a door lock is a simple process that most homeowners can readily handle. This helpful guide will make sure you’ve done it right. Read more

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How to Secure French Doors

How to Secure French Doors

How to Secure French Doors from Burglars

French doors are one of the weakest security points in your home due to two individual doors meeting in the middle. When they are not properly locked, or the locks provided during the installation have not been modified, these doors can be made to easily swing open even when the deadbolt and door lever have been locked. Read more

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How to Adjust Door Closers

How to Adjust Door Closers

How to Adjust Door Closer Speed

Adjusting a Surface Mount Door Closer

A door closer is a mechanical device which automatically closes a door using springs and a system of chambers filled with a hydraulic fluids to control the motion/speed of the door. The most common adjustments to address are:

  • The close swing (or ‘sweep’) speed – the speed at which the door closes.
  • The latching speed – the last few inches of the door closing to latch properly.
  • Some models also allow adjustments to the back-check. Door closer BC or Back Check means how the door responds when fully opened – the amount of resistance when opening the door past a certain point.
  • Read more

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How Can I Check if Neighborhood is Safe

How Can I Check if Neighborhood is Safe

How to Check Crime Rate Before Buying a Home?

When you’re buying a home, one of the most important factors in that decision is the safety of the neighborhood. This is especially true if you have a family with small children. Luckily there are several online resources that will report crime rates and statistics with information displayed in easy-to-read maps. Read more

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