How to recognize a moving scam?

Two small figurines of police officers with batons and handcuffs.

So, you’ve decided to relocate? That’s great! A new town can mean a lot of great new opportunities. But whenever you’re going into something you’re not familiar with, you need to be wary. While the moving business is a vast market filled with great companies, there are also scammers out there. Make sure to hire some licensed movers in Florida! Trust us, the last thing you want is to become a victim of a fraudulent moving company. Don’t worry though, there are ways to avoid such companies. That’s why we’ve decided to help you out, and show you some of the telltale signs of a moving scam.

The most common forms of a moving scam

As we’ve said, there are a lot of people out there who will pretend they’re from a reputable moving company. While in reality, they’ll be trying to pull off a moving scam on you. That’s because they want to take your hard-earned money without actually doing honest work, or to extract some extra cash. That’s why you can never be too careful when it comes to choosing your moving company! Bear in mind that the most common moving scams are:

  • Extracting more money – Typically, this moving scam is about the fraudulent movers enticing you with extremely affordable estimates. As you’ll soon see, some offers really are too good to be true. Because after the job is done, you’ll find out about extremely large ‘additional costs’.
  • Holding your things hostageAnother possibility is the moving scam where the ‘movers’ will load your stuff on their trucks – and then demand extremely large sums of money. If you don’t pay, they will refuse to move the truck or unload your things.
  • Illegal moving operationThere are movers out there that don’t work for legitimate and legal moving companies. Instead, they opt to run their operation without any registration, or even a real company. Since this is illegal, be careful – if they are caught, all of your things may get locked up as evidence by the police!
A man handing over four $20 bills to a moving scam.
You don’t want to give your hard-earned money to a moving scam!

Your rights and responsibilities

Okay, now that we’ve established what the most common moving scams are, the next logical question is: how can I spot a moving scam beforehand? After all, knowing how exactly you were cheated out of your money won’t do you much good after the fact.

Here’s something you should know while hiring a moving company. According to federal law, every licensed moving firm has to provide their clients with a brochure titled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. Not only will you find very valuable information in there, but you will also be able to use this to tell whether a moving company is run as a scam. If the movers don’t provide you with this, you’ll know something is not right. It may be a simple oversight, but really that’s doubtful. What’s far more likely is that you’re dealing with fraudulent movers who are operating outside the law. We probably don’t have to tell you that this is definitely a moving firm you’d best avoid.

Do your research

Really, by now you’ve realized how dangerous a moving scam can be. After all, when you’re hiring a moving company, in a way you’re doing a very personal thing. On one hand, you’re trusting someone with all of your valuables and important possessions. And on the other, you’re giving them your most personal information. That’s why we can’t stress enough how careful you need to be. Doing the due diligence when looking for a moving company can mean the difference between a great move and a scam! So, make sure you’re careful – that’s one of the best moving tips we can give you.

Due diligence

When you get an extremely low and affordable moving quote, make sure to get a few more and compare them. If it looks like an offer that’s just too low to pass on, it’s probably a scam. Also, make sure to ask the moving company if they have their license, and check their Better Business Bureau rating. If not, you don’t want to trust them with your household. Speaking of which, you should be wary of a company that wants to give a moving estimate over the phone, without inspecting your household visually. And make sure you can get references from their previous customers. That’s a good way to find out if the moving company is a scam or legitimate.

A woman with a coffee cup, about to search for something online.
You’ll need to do your research if you want to avoid a moving scam!

Pay attention to details

Really, if you want to avoid a moving scam, you need to do something. You should treat your relocation with a moving company as what it is – a business transaction, no matter if it’s a household or a commercial move. And as we all know, there’s one thing that guarantees a successful business transaction. Yeah, we’re talking about paying attention to detail.

Check your contract agreement

First and foremost, let’s talk about your contract with the moving company. And yes, singing a contract is an absolute must. Really, we can’t stress enough how important this is. It can be crucial to avoiding scams. No matter how pleasant or trustworthy someone seems, you really need to protect yourself legally. And no, a handshake agreement is simply not enough of a guarantee. Besides, having a contract agreement is one of the telltale signs of a serious and professional moving company. Think about it – no professional in any field would conduct their business without legal protection for all parties involved.

A person signing a contract document.
Don’t sign any contract before examining it!

Also, make sure you don’t just sign a blank contract, which the movers will ‘fill in with details later’. If we’re being honest, that’s almost certainly a moving scam. And speaking about contract details, make sure you’re not being scammed by vague and imprecise language. Really, if the contract is not clear to you upon reading it, it’s best to have a lawyer take a look and clear things up. Just make sure you’re careful, and you’ll be moving to Florida in no time!