Moving Scams Are Up 91% From Last Year – Here’s How to Avoid One

Young delivery men unloading cardboard boxes from truck on street.
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Even the moving industry isn’t immune to fraud. According to the Better Business Bureau, a total of 230 moving scams were reported, a record 91% higher than the previous year, as reported by HireAHelper, a tool that allows customers to compare movers across the country.

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According to HireAHelper, the most common moving scams include situations where moving companies:

  • Hold your possessions until you pay a considerable amount of cash
  • Change company names to avoid being associated with previous scams
  • Neglect to mention fees and charge them after service
  • Charge premium insurance by default
  • Lose valuable items with no explanation of the loss or refuse to investigate
  • Disappear after receiving a deposit
  • Provide general estimates without evaluating the size of the move

So far in 2021, the number of scams has reached 148, which is higher than the total number filed by Americans in all of 2019 (121), reports HireAHelper. While it was noted that the rise in scams is partially due to the rising popularity of the BBB’s website, it was also mentioned that moving scams in the U.S. are becoming more widespread.

Referencing data from the Federal Trade Commission, the BBB suggested that only 10% of scams are reported and, based on that figure, HireAHelper estimates that moving scams amount to roughly 2,300 for 2020 and 1,500 scams so far for the year 2021.

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Moving scams are the most common in the Western and Northern ends of the United States in states like Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. Movers in Utah and Missouri were the least likely to come across moving scams.

The BBB Scam Tracker revealed that the reported amount lost to moving scams in 2020 was $207,000 and $114,000 so far in 2021. According to HireAHelper’s adjusted estimates, moving scams could be closer to $2 million in 2020 and $1.1 million in the first half of 2021.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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