Useful Tips for Spotting Moving Scams
Believe it or not, moving scams are surprisingly common. Moving is a complex and difficult process, and there are people out there who prey on people in the midst of the chaos and confusion that moving can sometimes cause. These tips can help you identify moving fraud, so that you can avoid getting scammed by shady or unlicensed moving companies.
How Rogue Movers Operate
Illegitimate moving companies generally source their marks through the internet, often by using black hat SEO tactics to rank in Google for things people search for when they’re looking for moving companies. They’ll give you an estimate over the phone or through an email, which is usually much lower than what most companies would quote you. Then, when you actually move, your bill will be significantly higher than you expected. If you refuse to pay, or are unable to, they will hold your belongings hostage until you do.
Red Flags to Look For
Here are some of the most common red flags that signify that you might be encountering a moving scam. When you’re shopping around for local moving companies, these can give you an idea of what to avoid.
- The movers won’t agree to an onsite inspection. To give you an accurate estimate for the cost of your move, we need to visually assess what you need us to move. We’ll need you to show us your home and belongings so we can get an accurate idea of what you’ll probably pay. No reputable moving company would give you a non-binding estimate without a visual inspection. If they do so, it’s usually a sign that something’s not right.
- They demand a large cash deposit before the move. In Florida, moving companies are required to accept a minimum number of payment types, as delineated in Florida Statues Chapter 507. We will never insist on cash. If someone does, it could mean that they’re committing tax fraud, or otherwise doing something shady that requires them to avoid leaving a paper trail.
- They don’t provide you with the right paperwork. Movers are legally required to provide you with a document called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” We may provide a paper copy, or this PDF link from the FMCSA website.
- The company’s website doesn’t have their information. Their site should include a local address and a phone number where you can reach them. Fraudulent movers often lack a physical address, and may actually be a moving broker disguised as a moving company.
Movers in NYC
Need a reputable moving company in the NYC area? At Big Apple Movers, we help local homeowners, renters, and commercial businesses move within the area, or move a longer distance. Call us any time to get started, or contact us to get in touch today.