How to spot a fraudulent moving company?
Considering the crazy growth the moving industry has had in the past few years, it is easy to understand the number of new participating companies in the market. The growth in demand made growth in the industry. It is a natural business phenomenon. The number of existing moving companies can be stunning nowadays. This is good both for the moving companies as well as you, the clients. The clients have a large increase in buying power. Likewise, having a healthy competition increases the business potential for the companies. However, there is one problem that is common to both. Growth in the industry dictated a growth in the number of fraudulent moving companies. A fraudulent moving company, or a moving scam, occurs when a so-called moving company offers fake services. This is done in order to extort money from people and disappear.
Basically, you would get in touch with a fraudulent moving company that would pose as a real one. They would offer some non-existent services, and after you have paid, they would disappear. This is the least malicious example of a moving scam. There are some that are absolutely terrifying. Although, don’t let that completely discourage you as there are some local moving companies that are legit.
A fraudulent moving company
Considering the accessibility to the internet we have today, being scammed is easier than ever. There is an abundance of scammers out there that use the internet to zero in on their prey. On the upside, this is good news as well. The internet could be your best friend and your worst enemy, depending on how you use it. What does this mean?
A fraudulent moving company will usually use the internet to reach out to its victims. Or, they will be using the internet to advertise their false services. The usual hook that people fall for is the drastically lower price than the other professional moving companies. Sadly, some poor souls that could use such huge money saving will fall for such hooks. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for moving frauds to do their magic. Countless blog posts such as this one started existing globally, and they offer a safety net for those uncertain.
We will list a few red lights and a few examples of what a moving scam is. Also, hopefully at the end of this, you will be more cautious about such online offers.
Too good to be true
In most cases, if something sounds too good to be true it usually is not. Moving companies that offer insanely low prices are not necessarily scammers, but in most cases they are. Even though it may sound suspicious from the get-go, it should still be investigated before dubbed a scam. There are some fresh and upcoming moving companies trying to get into the market by offering substantially low prices. However, they are a rare sight. If you do, however, stumble across one, good for you!
But the bottom line is – if the price is unrealistically low, it should be your initial red light.
Website? A registered company? Got some?
The very first thing you can do in order to start verifying the authenticity of a moving company is by checking their website. This is the cheapest and easiest thing you could possibly do. If you, for instance, found your moving company on Craigslist, the first thing you should do is check out their website.
In all honesty, if they do not own a website you should drop them as a choice immediately. Every single moving company, new or old, if they are authentic they will own a website. There is the off chance that their website is down for maintenance at that particular moment, but this can be checked. Otherwise, no website – no game. This is our number one advice we can give, for not having a website is the first very powerful red light you can stumble upon.
Secondly, you should verify whether they have a registered company. If for whatever reason they do not have such a thing you should drop them as an option altogether. A fraudulent moving company will never be a legitimately registered moving company due to the fact that the government could pursue them if they scammed you. This is not something they will ever need in their life. So, the definite instant deal breaker and the ultimate red light is verifying whether or not they are a registered company paying taxes. If not, move along. You can call a legitimate moving company and ask for their DOT number.
It’s a number given out by the Department of Transportation as a proof that the company has a valid registration.
What are the moving scams?
Here are a few examples of what a fraudulent moving company could do to you.
First off, they would introduce themselves as a legitimate moving company. Everything they do will lead to the fact that they are real. The way they talk and pretend to be experts in the matter. Then, they would make their first mistake and provide you with a first red flag. They will ask for a deposit. No legitimate moving company will ever, under any circumstances, seek any money in advance. What these frauds do is ask for money in advance, and once the payment has been set – you never see or hear from them ever again.
Second potential scenario is when the fraudulent moving company acts naturally. They show up on a moving day and do everything as agreed. From that point on they would keep all your precious belongings hostage until you have paid a very handsome ransom.
A last potential scenario is when a moving company, acting entirely legit, shows up on a moving day and performs everything as agreed upon. However, upon completion, they would disappear with all your belongings never to be found again.
Be very careful, for all of these scenarios are quite painful.
Best of luck to you!