There was an interesting article in the Washington Post about a local locksmith’s fight against search engines. The quick synopsis is that some locksmith companies with local phone numbers and local adresses aren’t really local. They are really shells with a national call center. They list fake local addresses, get local phone numbers that route to the national center and dispatch unlicensed local people. The model is the same for many national franchises in different industries, but the twist here is using fake local addresses to fool customers and the use of unlicensed workers in an industry that requires licensing.
There were two particularly interesting points in this article. The first is Google’s claim that this has been a problem that has plagued other mediums, like the Yellow Pages, for decades. The second, more scary point is Mr. Baldino’s warning that this could be spreading to plumbers, HVAC, etc. How do you choose the people you will let into your home, the people you will leave unattended with your stuff?
The only recommendation that I can give is that you seek referrals from trusted people. Who would your doctor or lawyer recommend? Who would a trusted third party, like a counselor or an elder care association recommend? If you’re having trouble with the law, who would Adult Protective Services or Code Compliance offer as possibilities? And once you have selected someone, make sure that you are comfortable with them.