More than 7,000 complaints of moving scams reported in 2021; here are red flags to look for
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT/Gray News) – More than 7,000 complaints about moving scams were reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in the past year.
That number has significantly increased since the start of the pandemic, WECT reports.
The FMCSA is a civil agency that administers commercial regulations governing the interstate transportation of household goods.
Because moving is often a stressful experience, and something people might not do very often, consumers can be vulnerable to making mistakes hiring a mover that can have significant consequences.
The FMCSA provides resources to help people planning a move find a reputable moving company.
It is important to have everything in writing and to understand if you are in contact with a broker or a moving company. Oftentimes moving scams start with an unscrupulous broker.
“It underscores the need to do research. What scammers do is they will use a name very similar to another company that is familiar to you and me, and they try to prey on our sense of trust,” said N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein. “We urge people to do research and make sure that the company is legit, make sure that there aren’t a lot of complaints about them. Because you don’t want to hand over your life’s possessions to some scam artist.”
Tips When Choosing a Moving Company:
- Contact various reputable, long-standing moving companies to compare estimates and get a foundation of what the legitimate cost of your move will be.
- Ask the moving company if they will be conducting the move or if it is being brokered for fulfillment by another company.
- Keep all records of contracts, proof of payments, and communication with the moving company.
- Carefully examine the reviews on various online business rating websites to ensure they contain more than just recent glowing reviews.
- Use online street-view and satellite maps to research the moving company’s address to verify that the address is a business and not a residence.
If there are an extraordinary number of complaints about an individual company they are referred to the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) for possible federal prosecution.
Contact FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint Database online or toll-free at: 1-888-368-7238 to file a complaint against a household goods moving company, broker or other carrier.
You can also report an allegation of household goods fraud to the OIG’s Fraud Hotline using any of the following methods:
- Online OIG Hotline Complaint Form
- Call 1-800-424-9071 (toll free).
- E-mail to email@example.com
- Mail to: DOT Inspector General, 1200 New Jersey Ave SE, West Bldg 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20590
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