There is a florist in New Zealand performing community penance for hijacking the Google Local listings of her competitors. I rather think she should get jail time, but that’s an aside.
If you have a local small business and you want to start marketing your business online but don’t know where to start, Google Local is the perfect place. You don’t even need a website. But if you don’t claim your business on Google Local then someone else just may do it for you and take any traffic or business that you might have received had you done it.
While this is considered criminal, consider that it could happen from someone in another country hijacking your business listing. If that happens then you may never see justice.
It’s best to prevent it from happening before you see your business in a compromised situation. Claim your business on Google Local, Yahoo!, Bing and Ask.com. It’s free and it will save you a ton of headaches.