With all the deceptions and frauds out there, it can be challenging to avoid moving scams. The process of finding and hiring a moving company is stressful, but knowing there is a possibility of getting scammed and having to do everything all over again makes it even more frustrating. But you don't have to worry because you have us to help. We've prepared tips and tricks that will help you recognize and avoid a fraudulent moving company, and you can find them all right here in this article.
Scams are designed to look legitimate and sound-friendly. Even though everyone can fall for fraud, scammers usually target specific types of people, depending on the scam they are trying to pull.
Here are the most common types of people scammers target:
Older adults who are not as familiar with the technology.
People who were already victims of scams.
Friendly people are also targeted usually through social media.
Stressed people tend to fall for scams because they are generally prone to making rash decisions.
People pleasers need to make others happy, so they're easy to buy into anything someone says.
Moving scams are widespread, so it can be hard to find a reliable moving company to hire. Therefore, while you are doing your research, make sure to keep your eyes open for red flags and signs that can indicate you're dealing with a scam.
Scams have been perfected, so even if you came across a state-of-the-art website, it still doesn't mean that the company is legit. Therefore, you need to thoroughly check their website and do some digging. You can always hire specialized private investigator services to dig deeper before hand, and if you fall victim they will be vital to helping you recoup your losses.
First, look for a physical address. If you can't find it anywhere on the website, it could be a sign to continue your search. In case you do find details about the physical address, check if it is local or residential.
Caption: If anything seems suspicious about the moving company you're looking to hire, make sure to thoroughly check all information.
Another warning sign is the lack of a DOT number. Every certified moving company has to be registered with the Federal government. You can quickly check this information by visiting The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration's (FMCSA) website.
Let's look at one example. If you examine the Strong-Ass Movers website, you'll be able to find all the relevant information. You'll also be able to find their insurance information and confirm they've been certified.
One of the ways fraudulent companies get away with scams is by updating their names. It's very rare for a company to change its name because of branding and other marketing reasons. Even though a name change doesn't have to mean the company is doggy, it's definitely a red flag if you're able to trace the company's history through multiple name changes.
The key difference between legit moving companies and scammers is in the way they estimate moving costs. Namely, you are entitled to get a free, in-home estimate from a moving company as per FMCSA regulations. If the moving company you got in touch with refuses to do this or provides you with a rough estimate over the phone, look for movers somewhere else.
Although you probably want to save money when moving house, don't rush into making a decision about movers simply because the offer is too good to pass. It's usually quite the opposite - if the offer is too good, it's because it's not true.
For instance, if the mover insists its quote is "ironclad," it can be a warning sign. It's doubtful your offer won't change. In most cases, the estimate is subject to change as the weight of household belongings is usually more than expected.
Some companies even state that their insurance covers absolutely everything. However, you should be skeptical when seeing an offer like this. Usually, protection starts at 60 cents per pound. This means that the company will reimburse you that amount for the total weight of all your belongings in case they are damaged, destroyed, or lost.
When choosing a moving company, you can proactively do things to protect yourself and avoid moving scams. It can massively reduce your chances of being a victim of moving fraud.
One of the most critical things is to thoroughly check the moving contract. You need to make sure you know what you are signing, so read it several times if necessary and check every detail. Unscrupulous moving companies tend to give you a lower price only to drive it up by adding fees you weren't aware of.
Caption: Analyze your contract before signing it and pay attention to details.
Your contract should contain details about pickup and drop-off dates. Also, look for a clear explanation of how the company calculated your charges. If something seems fishy, you must back out before you sign it.
All the details you need to check and be mindful of probably got you thinking about if you should do a DIY move or hire movers. However, don't give up because plenty of good moving companies can handle your relocation efficiently and professionally.
One of the easiest ways to avoid being scammed is to ask people you trust for recommendations. Check with your friends, family members, or colleagues who moved at some point to tell you about their experience. Your real estate agent could have some information, too.
Caption: Invite your friends over for coffee and ask them if they can recommend reliable movers for you to hire. They can also help you do your research and avoid moving scams more easily.
We hope our advice helped you avoid moving scams and find the right movers to assist with your relocation. Listen to your gut, and if something doesn't sit quite right with you or you feel it's off, it probably is. Take it as a sign to research further and check everything before you make your decision.