Need help moving? Watch out for fraudulent companies

With summer being the busiest season for moving, consumers should be aware of ways fraudulent companies may take advantage. 

According to HireAHelper, there are three top moving scams to look out for. 

The first involves a fraudulent company reaching out to the mover with an offer to get their address officially changed for a fee. However, USPS will do that for free.

"It was wild to me when I was looking at the numbers, and I was like, ‘Really? The most common moving scam?’" said Miranda Marquit, chief data analyst for HireAHelper. "But it makes sense because of how simple this is. And when you're moving, and you're changing your address, you want something to be fast or easy." 

The second top scam is the ‘no show.’

"They'll reel you in with a really cheap quote," said Marquit. "And then they will say, okay, you're all set, send us a deposit, and we'll be there on moving day."

It’s a red flag if they won’t accept a credit card for the deposit, instead asking for payment through Zelle or a similar platform. 

The third scam involves holding belongings ‘hostage.’

"They actually do show up. They pack up your things. But then if you want your possessions back, if you want your items released back to, you have to pay an extra fee," said Marquit. "So they basically hold your possessions for ransom."

One preventative measure consumers can take is to have an in-person quote assessment. 

"Because what'll end up happening is they'll give you the quotes, they'll pick up your possessions, and then they'll say, 'You didn't tell us about X, Y, Z. We didn't get a good quote from you…So now you have to pay us extra.’" 

Looking at data compiled by the Better Business Bureau, HireAHelper found that moving scams are up 12% this year and are projected to rise up to 35% by the end of 2023. 


At the federal level, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched "Operation Protect Your Move" in April of this year, a nationwide crackdown on "scam movers." 

In July, the administration announced the enforcement involved more than 100 investigations across 16 states, resulting in "over 60 enforcement actions that may lead to the revocation of operating authority for some movers and brokers."

Marquit noted one proactive step consumers can take: get an idea of what prices are too good to be true. 

"Get quotes from between three and five moving companies," she said. "Go out there and get some quotes and compare them."

To read the full analysis from HireAHelper, click here.

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