It’s a sad but true fact that scammers often target individuals when they are at their most vulnerable – and that includes the population of those who are moving! There has been a reported 25% increase in the amount of complaints filed against interstate movers in the last 3 years, and rampant fraud occurring among so-called local moving ‘professionals’ all the time. This week we wanted to share some T-O-P Move tips on how to avoid scams. Together, we can protect what and who is most precious to you during any transition!
#1: Watch out for low ball bids and verbal estimates. According the California Public Utilities Commission, moving quotes are NOT binding unless they are completed after a physical, in-person inventory of all your items. Beware also of ‘hostage loaders’ – who quote an extremely low fee upfront, then load their truck and demand thousands more to release your belongings. Referrals and watchdog websites like Protect Your Move are the best place to seek moving companies – NOT Craigslist, intersection signs or cold calls.
#2: Take steps to protect paperwork. Identity theft issues are HUGE during a move of any size – as sensitive documentation, birth certificates, insurance policies, financial statements and more will be more accessible than ever before. Be sure to gather, pack and move ALL personal, financial and password-oriented documentation yourself; the same rules apply to valuables and family heirlooms too!
#3: Find out what’s covered – and what’s not. Most moving companies offer minimal insurance protection based on a per pound cost of your goods; some will up-sell higher coverage for additional fees. Before you invest in additional insurance, call your renters’ or homeowners’ insurance company to see what may be covered by your personal policy. In addition, be sure to inventory and take photographs of any items of value including electronics, furniture and wall art in case the condition of the items comes into question when filing a claim.
Learn more about avoiding moving fraud by checking out the two articles below from AARP, and learn about “Consumer Rights & Responsibilities” during an interstate move HERE.