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How To Protect Yourself Against Moving Fraud

moving fraud

Table of Contents

Avoid Falling Victim to Moving fraud

Before gathering moving quotes, protecting yourself against moving fraud is an essential step to account for. Relocating to a new state can be a chaotic experience, and unfortunately, there are dishonest individuals and companies out there looking to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers. To help you protect yourself and your belongings, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to protect yourself against moving fraud. By recognizing the warning signs, understanding your rights, and taking proactive measures, you can ensure a smooth and secure move.

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Moving Fraud

Before delving into the precautions you can take, it’s essential to be aware of the warning signs that may indicate potential moving fraud. Some common red flags include:

  1. Unusually low estimates: If a moving company offers significantly lower estimates than others, it may be a sign of fraudulent practices.
  2. Non-binding quotes: Legitimate movers typically provide binding estimates, which means the final cost won’t exceed the quoted amount. Non-binding quotes can lead to unexpected price increases.
  3. Unprofessional behavior: If the moving company’s representatives display unprofessional behavior or lack proper documentation, it’s best to be cautious.

For a full list of red flags, check out this list by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Recognizing these warning signs early on can help you avoid potential scams and fraudulent moving companies.

Another warning sign to watch out for is a lack of company branding or identification on the moving trucks or uniforms of the workers. Reputable moving companies usually have their logo prominently displayed on their vehicles and uniforms, which adds to their professionalism and credibility. Rogue movers and brokers, hiding behind simple websites and landing pages, have little branding to boast. If the moving company’s website has no photo evidence of crews or trucks with company branding, it could indicate a shady operation. Shippers can also search the USMPO’s verified carrier directory to see a company profile.

Furthermore, be wary of movers who demand a large deposit upfront before the moving process even begins. Legitimate moving companies typically require payment upon delivery of your belongings, not before. Asking for a substantial deposit in advance could be a tactic used by fraudulent movers to take your money and disappear without providing the services promised.

Understanding Your Rights as a Consumer

As a consumer, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with your rights and responsibilities when hiring a moving company. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) provides certain protections for consumers using interstate movers. These rights include:

  1. Obtaining a written estimate: Legitimate movers are required to provide a written estimate detailing the services offered and the estimated costs.
  2. Receiving a Bill of Lading: The Bill of Lading is a legally binding document that outlines the terms of the contract between you and the moving company. Make sure to read it thoroughly and keep a copy for your records.
  3. Filing complaints: In case of disputes or issues with a moving company, you have the right to file a complaint with FMCSA.

Understanding these rights empowers you to make informed decisions and protects you from potential scams.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that consumers also have the right to request additional information from the moving company before making a decision. This can include asking about the company’s insurance coverage, licensing credentials, and any additional fees that may apply to the moving services. The USMPO makes all this information available in an easy to read format on their verified company profiles. Simply enter the company’s name or DOT# on the homepage.

Additionally, consumers should be aware of their rights in case of lost or damaged items during the moving process. The FMCSA provides guidelines on how to file claims for damaged or missing belongings, ensuring that consumers are fairly compensated for any losses incurred.

Safeguarding Your Belongings During the Move

Protecting your belongings during the move is of utmost importance. To ensure their safety, consider taking the following precautions:

  • Documenting valuable items: Create an inventory of all your valuable possessions and document their condition before the move. Taking photographs or videos can be helpful in case of any disputes or damages.
  • Packing valuable items separately: Keep valuable items, such as jewelry or important documents, with you during the move rather than packing them with the rest of your belongings.
  • Using your own tracking device: Its recommended to use an air-tag, or a simple GPS tracking device to keep track of your items. Most companies do not have tracking, so this will mitigate the risk of lost items. You can find GPS tracking alternatives here.
  • Securing insurance: Ask your moving company about insurance options to protect your belongings in case of loss or damage during the move.

By taking these steps, you can minimize the risk of loss or damage to your cherished possessions.Moving can be a stressful time, but with proper planning and precautions, you can make the process smoother and more secure. In addition to the steps mentioned above, consider using high-quality packing materials to protect your items during transportation. Bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and sturdy boxes can help cushion your belongings and prevent breakage.Another important aspect to consider is labeling your boxes correctly. By clearly marking each box with its contents and destination room, you can ensure that fragile items are handled with care and that boxes are placed in the appropriate rooms upon arrival. This simple step can save you time and effort when unpacking and help you keep track of your belongings during the chaotic moving process.

Tips for Verifying a Moving Company’s Credentials

Before hiring a moving company, it’s essential to verify its credentials and reputation. Here are some tips to help you ensure the legitimacy of a moving company:

  1. Check licensing: Ensure that the moving company is licensed and registered with the appropriate authorities.
  2. Read reviews & check company profiles: The USMPO compiles a moving company’s third party reviews, complaint history, and background information to simplify your research process. You can also ook for reviews and testimonials from previous customers to get an idea of the company’s reliability and customer satisfaction.
  3. Contact a USMPO representative: Verify your quote with the USMPO. A representative can help you make a safe, informed, neutral decision. They can also help you spot out an estimate that may seem too good to be true…usually a low-ball estimate.

By conducting thorough research and verifying a moving company’s credentials, you can make an informed decision and avoid fraudulent companies.

Moreover, it’s important to inquire about the moving company’s insurance coverage. A reputable moving company should have adequate insurance to protect your belongings in case of any damage or loss during the move. Make sure to ask for details about their insurance policy and what it covers. You can learn more about the different types of insurance, such as release value vs. full value protection, here.

Additionally, consider checking the company’s track record and experience in the moving industry. A company that has been in business for several years and has successfully completed numerous moves is likely to have the expertise and resources to handle your relocation efficiently and professionally. You can ask about their experience, the types of moves they specialize in, and any additional services they offer to make your moving process smoother.

Educating Others to Prevent Future Moving Fraud

One of the most effective ways to protect yourself from moving fraud is by educating others and spreading awareness. Help us on our mission to reduce deceptive business practices in the moving industry. Share your experiences with us at and knowledge with friends, family, and online communities to help prevent others from falling victim to scams. By raising awareness, we can collectively reduce the occurrence of moving fraud and protect consumers.

When discussing moving fraud, it’s important to highlight common red flags that indicate a potential scam. These can include unusually low estimates, demands for a large upfront payment, or lack of a physical office or address for the moving company. By familiarizing yourself and others with these warning signs, you can better equip individuals to spot and avoid fraudulent moving companies.

Furthermore, staying informed about the regulations and laws surrounding the moving industry can also be crucial in preventing fraud. Understanding your rights as a consumer and knowing what to look for in a legitimate moving company can go a long way in ensuring a smooth and secure moving process. By taking proactive steps to educate yourself and others, you can help create a safer environment for all individuals embarking on a relocation journey.

Seeking Legal Recourse in Cases of Moving Fraud

If you believe you have been a victim of moving fraud, it’s crucial to understand your legal options. Consult with an attorney specializing in consumer protection or contract law to explore the possibility of seeking legal recourse. They can guide you through the process and help you recover any losses resulting from fraudulent practices.

Researching Moving Companies Thoroughly

When selecting a moving company, thorough research is key. Don’t just leave it up to a quick google search, clicking on the first ad you see. Many ads will take you to the landing page of a lead provider that will gather and sell your information. Take the time to gather information about the company’s history, experience, and track record. Additionally, explore online platforms and websites dedicated to reviewing and rating moving companies. By investing time in proper research, you can make an informed decision and choose a reputable and trustworthy mover.

protect yourself from moving fraud

Marketing Companies & Lead Providers

Beware of marketing companies and lead providers that claim to offer a list of the “top moving companies.” In the image above, you can see one website showing a list of the “best moving companies”, when clearly they are advertisers. Unfortunately, these listings can be misleading or influenced by paid advertisements and have no validity to there claims. Instead, rely on reputable sources, such as the USMPO’s verified carrier database and the Better Business Bureau, and conduct thorough research before selecting a moving company.

Beware of Moving Brokers

Moving brokers act as intermediaries between consumers and moving companies. While some brokers provide legitimate services, be cautious of those who misuse their position to exploit consumers. It’s essential to thoroughly vet any moving broker before entrusting them with your move. In fact, the top three moving companies on the image above, Safeship, 3 Brothers Moving & Storage, and AmeriSafe are actually brokers with negative reviews online. Verify their credentials, reputation, and past customer experiences before making a decision.

Securing a Written Estimate and Contract

Finally, always insist on a written estimate and contract before hiring a moving company. A written estimate ensures transparency, while a detailed contract outlines the terms and conditions of the move. Read these documents carefully, paying attention to any fine print or hidden fees. If any concerns arise, clarify them with the moving company before signing the contract.

Closing Remarks

Protecting yourself against moving fraud requires awareness, research, and proactive measures. At the U.S. Moving Protection Organization, it is our priority to help shippers make an informed decision, however, at the end of the day, it all comes down to your informed decision. By recognizing the warning signs and red flags, understanding your rights, and verifying the credentials of moving companies, you can ensure a safe and smooth moving experience. Spread the knowledge to educate others and contribute to a safer moving industry for everyone. If you or anyone you know has been a victim of a moving scam, we are here to help document your experience and assist in building a case for the authorities. Please submit your story to

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