There are multiple ways to Tell If a Moving Company Is a Scam. Every day the scammers will find new ways but these are some guides on how to tell if a moving company is a scam. First, it won’t be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Second, customer reviews will include complaints about paying a deposit and no one showed up. Third, the moving company will give you a very low, amazingly cheap, estimate. Fourth, it will ask you to sign a blank contract before completing your contract. Lastly, if you can’t find any third-party reviews, the moving company is likely running a scam.

 

How to tell if a company is a moving scam

1. It isn’t licensed through the FMCSA

Why this is a red flag

Did you know there is a federal agency that tracks and regulates the trucking industry? It’s called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), and it keeps tabs on the moving industry because moving companies use trucks. If a company isn’t properly licensed through the FMCSA, there’s a very good chance it’s a fraud.

How to check on this

Every reputable moving company has a USDOT (US Department of Transportation) number, which should be listed in the fine print at the very bottom of its website or on the top of their Electronic Estimate or Physical Estimate. Once you have a company’s USDOT number, you can use it to search the FMCSA's Database for any information the agency has on that company.

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When you first plug the USDOT number into the database, you’ll be presented with a chart about that moving company. Find the “Operating Status” field. If it says “Authorized,” then the company is licensed with the FMCSA. Watch out for major Red Flags If it shows Not Authorized or shows Authorized but has 1 Power Unit or 1 Driver but no MCS-150 Mileage or just 1.

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This is the only surefire way to guarantee a company isn’t just a moving scam but proper licensing doesn’t guarantee a company will provide excellent moving services or have fair prices.

To check for these qualities, you’ll have to read reviews from third parties (like Angi Leads) or past customers.

 

Genuine Moving Company Reviews Example

 

2. It charges customers a big deposit or multiple deposits moving day.

Why this is a red flag

There are a lot of scammers out there that just want to receive your deposit and will vanish by the time you notice anything. You can spot them if they are fairly new, they almost have no reviews and they cannot give you a better time for pickup. They may make you wait for weeks for someone to show up to do your pickup which never happens.

3. Receiving an unreliability cheap estimate.

Why this is a red flag

There is no such thing as a free lunch. If you receive an insanely cheap estimate compared to a lot of actual moving company there are high chances you are being scammed. They want you receive with them and pay the deposit which they are looking for in first place from you. If they are an actual moving company but you are still receiving a cheap estimate make sure you have done your inventory list with them and everything you mentioned to them is written on your estimate. If you tell a company all your items but you do not find them on your estimate, you will be scammed on the day of your moving.

4. It asks you to pay or sign a blank moving contract before telling you the total specially if there are additional items.

Why this is a red flag

 

Real moving companies won’t ask you to sign anything blank or pay them a dime until they do a walkthrough and write you estimate completely specially if you have more items. If a company skips this step and asks you for payment or a signature immediately after you get an instant moving quote, watch out. It’s probably trying to scam you.

5. It doesn’t have third-party reviews

Why this is a red flag

 

Moving scams are usually pretty short-lived. To avoid repercussions, scammers set up websites and make up company names that they abandon quickly after they have scammed a few customers. This short lifespan means that they aren’t around long enough to get reviewed by third-party moving websites (and the experts at Angi leads!), so if you can’t find any reviews of a company, it might be a fraud.

How to check on this

A quick Google search should do the trick. Search for “[moving company name] brand reviews” instead of simply “[moving company name]” to turn up more than the company’s own page.

You can also search for brand reviews directly on Angi Leads for example Legitimate Moving Company Reviews

How Many Americans Get Scammed by Moving Companies?

Moving scams are a bigger problem than you may think. Since January of 2020, over 660 moving scams have been reported to the Better Business Bureau in the United States alone and customer reviews everywhere are chock-full of horror stories about last-minute price hikes, lost deposits, and “movers” that take household goods hostage for more money.

We reached out to 600 people who moved in the last two years and asked about their experiences. Roughly 40% of them said they got scammed by their movers and we found several common business practices among the scammers to watch out for.

Scammers often vanish without a trace before they can be held accountable, so there isn’t a comprehensive list of companies to avoid. But keep reading to learn about the red flags of a moving scam and get some advice for finding a reputable moving company near you.

Key findings from our survey

  • 5 in 10 moving customers got scammed by their moving company.

  • 51% of respondents who moved to another state felt scammed.

  • Over a third of scam victims were scammed by moving brokers.

  • 61% were charged more than they were quoted.

  • 49% wanted to pursued legal action after getting scammed.

  • 70% said that the company they hired is still in operation.

  • 49% said the scamming company changed its name since their move.

  • 51% felt scammed by a moving truck rental company.

  • 28% felt scammed by a moving and storage container company.

How much money did the moving scam victims lose?

 

  • 14% were scammed out of $100–$500.

  • 47% were scammed out of $500–$1,000.

  • 18% were scammed out of $1,000–$2,000.

  • 12% were scammed out of $2,000–$10,000+.

 

Red flags to watch out for

 

To help you hire a reputable moving company and avoid scammers, we’ve compiled a list of common moving scam tactics reported by our survey respondents. Watch out for these telltale signs of a moving scam:

  • Exceptionally low prices: 40% of respondents said scammers gave them extremely low quotes compared to what other moving companies gave them. This is part of the reason you should get quotes from multiple moving companies. You’ll only know a quote is suspiciously low if you have other quotes for comparison.

  • Terrible customer reviews: 36% of respondents said the scammers all had lots of bad reviews. Be sure to check for complaints on independent review sites like Angi Leads, Yelp and Google reviews. Don’t just trust the customer reviews featured on a moving company’s website—those can be easily fabricated.

  • No timeline: 2020 and specially 2021 was a crazy year for transport industry and they fell behind with deliveries due to lack of drivers, trucks, parts and excess fuel cost. 25% of respondents said the scammers didn’t provide a delivery timeline for when their household goods would be delivered. If a company won’t even give you a rough timeline for delivery, beware.

Moving scams are always evolving, and as more customers get savvy to their tactics, scammers develop new tricks. However, watching out for the warning signs we’ve listed can ensure you don’t fall prey to a dishonest moving company.