A Mover will steal everything you own, if you let them
How do you tell the good guys from the bad guys?
The moving industry is riddled with crooks, thieves and conmen that intentionally set out to scam you. The bad guys are called rogue movers, they hide on the internet and they operate their scams disguised as reputable Movers. The way they operate is cold and calculating, with an end game of holding your goods for ransom until you pay them an inflated price.
To be clear they do not want your stuff, they want more money than they quoted you to do the job. They only steal your stuff as ransom to extort more money out of you. The sad thing is that thousands of people report moving frauds every year, with 80 to 90% going unreported.
How do you avoid these crooks?
Use your head every Mover has basically the same costs, too good to be true it is not true. Search out national Van Lines the big five are Mayflower, Allied, North American, United and Atlas. Or you can use a site called ReloSecurity https://www.relosecurity.com/ they work with over 1000 safe “ProMover Certified” Moving companies across the US and can set up three estimates with one call.
Do not book your move online, sight unseen, professional Movers offer free, no obligation, in home estimates. (There is a comparative shopping form on relosecurity.com. Get estimates in writing guaranteed not to exceed 10%) If you do get online estimates, which is not advised, always investigate them, use your spider senses, you are a smart consumer so be on guard.
Here are some tips:
- Google their location (under the contact info on their website) do not use a mover that has no business address or a shady looking building with no signage.
- Use “street view” to see if they have trucks in the yard, are they white no name trucks or are they rental trucks? Good movers have their names and numbers on their truck, they are rolling billboards, they want to be noticed.
- If their building is an office building or residential home, be careful.
- Look out for two or three similar looking estimates with a slight difference in cost; they are coming from the same boiler-room and will probably be the 3 cheapest prices. (If you call any of the three the same person will answer)
- Look for off the rack clip art or names pasted onto white clip art trucks on their website.
- They are aggressive and will hit you with several urgent emails or calls to book quick to reserve a spot.
- They indicate that the final charges will be calculated when they get to your home on move day.
- If you have never seen their trucks in your area, be careful.
- Ask them where they are located and if you can visit their building, if you hear crickets hang up.
Look for AMSA “ProMover Certified” Movers; this is an accreditation from the US professional Movers Association. If moving to Canada or intra Canada look for Movers with a CAM membership (Canadian Association of Movers)
Most importantly use your common sense. We are all experienced consumers; we all know what a scam looks like. You are entrusting everything you own to someone on the internet, think about it.
For more ways to spot a fraud check out https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/protect-your-move/red-flags
By Larry Kruger
Larry has been in the moving industry for 37 years, specializing in cross border Moving- US to Canada and intra Canadian relocations.