Summer is considered to be the peak moving season, and as thousands of Americans pack and work toward their moves, there is one thing that remains a concern: moving fraud.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports nearly 1 in 10 Americans move each year, and last year alone, they received nearly 3,000 moving fraud complaints.
In order to combat interstate moving fraud, the FMCSA has launched the “Protect Your Move” campaign, which seeks to educate potential movers on how to plan a successful move by researching and to look out for fraud warning signs.
Click here to listen to KMZU’s Elizabeth Orosco talk with Ed Gilman, Director of External Affairs for the FMCSA:
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“Rogue movers might overcharge you, break things without having insurance, and, in extreme cases, they might hold your property hostage for more money or simply vanish with everything you own,” said Ed Gilman, Director of External Affairs for the FMCSA. “That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is educating the public about “Protect Your Move.gov”, the website consumers can go to to search our database, find reputable movers, get helpful tips to guard against rogue movers and file a complaint if they’ve been scammed.”
Gilman says there are quite a few “red flags” to look for when you’re finding a moving company.
“First and foremost is if the moving company is not listed in database on our website, big red flag. If they don’t agree to an onsite inspection before giving you a quote for your move, another red flag. If they demand cash or a large deposit, ask you to sign a blank document, those are all things that are a major red flag that we want to educate consumers about,” said Gilman.
Gilman also says to be wary of movers who don’t have a local address, answer the telephone with a generic company name greeting (i.e. answering with “Movers…” or “Moving Company…”), or movers that show up in a rental truck as opposed to a company truck.
To find a legitimate moving company, Gilman advises consumers to visit the FMCSA’s website and check their database to make sure the company has no outstanding complaints against them. He also suggests to download their moving checklist and go through it carefully so you understand what you’ll need to know and do during every phase of the moving process.
If you’ve been a victim of moving fraud, there are resources available to help you. Gilman says fraud victims “absolutely should” file a complaint with the FMCSA and with the company for damages. Victims have nine months to file a written claim, and may want to refer to the company’s dispute settlement program. State law enforcement authorities may be able to offer further assistance if the fraud is reported to them.
“This issue is bigger than folks think, and we believe that an educated consumer is one that’s going to be able to protect themselves from this fraud,” said Gilman. “Just to keep in mind, 3,000 only accounts for the complaints actually filed with the agency. The reality is, the issue of moving fraud is much larger than this number even represents.”
To learn more about how you and your family can protect yourselves from moving fraud, visit www.protectyourmove.gov.