Moving fraud has increased recently in the wake of the work-from-home relocation boom, nearly doubling from 2020 to 2021. Fortunately, moving fraud is actually fairly easy to detect if you know what you’re looking for. Most of the things you can look out for aren’t necessarily indicative of a fraudulent company, but probably wouldn’t be the case with a good company. Major red flags involve legal requirements not being met or legal information not being provided, and almost surely indicate fraud.
Very importantly, the company must provide a copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. This is a legal requirement. Included in this document is the requirement that moving companies only collect money for successfully delivered items, meaning demanding up-front payment is illegal. Moving trucks are also subject to FMCSA regulations. If they aren’t willing to provide their FMCSA registration, they probably aren’t registered and therefore not operating legally. The company should also provide contact information, including an exact address, and you should be able to find them online.
There are also less surefire red flags. As usual, “if it’s too good to be true, it’s probably false” applies. Scammers offer low prices to entice customers, but frequently add hidden surcharges or fees, or simply bump up the cost well above their estimate — if they provide one at all. They may say they’ve been around forever, but they may not have any proof of that. Especially if all their reviews are recent. If they’re all five star reviews, they’re probably all fake. Scammers are also frequently very pushy.