How to Avoid Moving Scams

Over 30 millions Americans move each year, and although a large percentage of moving companies are honest and reliable, there are some companies which are dishonest and some even downright unscrupulous. There are numerous stories of customers getting the bait and switch treatment, or having their belongings held hostage and you don't want this happening to you. So, to ensure that you only hire the best and trustworthy moving companies, here are some steps you need to take.

Research and Verify

Some people are so caught up with the tasks of moving that they'll just hire anyone to move their stuff. However, this is one way many companies can take advantage of you, so plan ahead! Make sure you start looking for and vetting companies months ahead. Almost anyone can make up business cards and letterheads and call themselves a mover. So, you have to do your own research to verify a company is legit. First, see if they have a verifiable motor carrier number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ( which is required for interstate movers. You can also check if anyone has lodged complaints against these companies with your local BBB or Attorney General.

Of course it's quite easy to change business names or have "DBA" (doing business as) names, so there are other ways to check. Go to their office to see if they are a legit operation. Avoid companies that only have answering services, email addresses or even mobile phone numbers as these are easily discarded. Go in the Internet and perform a Google search for the name to see if anything comes up. Ask for references and actually call up these people, so you can hear for yourself what they have to say.

Sign Off on Written Estimates Only

There are different kinds of moving estimates, but the important thing is that you have written estimates so you can protect yourself with paperwork, should things go wrong. Read the contract carefully, and if there are some clauses that you are uncomfortable with, ask the company or ask a lawyer their opinion.

Get Insurance

If you really want to make sure you're absolutely protected, then consider getting a comprehensive insurance for your items. In case your moving company runs away with your things, you'll have a recourse for at the very least getting some the monetary value of your things back. If you're moving for work, ask that moving insurance be included in your relocation package. Moving insurance may also be covered by your homeowner's insurance, so check with your provider. At the very least, don't put valuables, important papers and irreplaceable items with your moving boxes.