With Summer coming to a close, many consumers take this time to relocate. The kids move away to college, thousands of families are leaving their summer getaways and people are ready to settle into their new spot before the winter months arrive. As exciting as moving is, it does bring its share of stress to the table. Although most moves go smooth, there are still some scammers out there looking to swindle you out of your money when you are most vulnerable. Watch for these moving scams before you begin to pack.
If you’re lacking the manpower or vehicles needed to move all that big stuff, you may consider hiring a moving company. With the help of the moving company, you can finish your move within a fraction of the time. When picking a moving company, you’re going to want to go with someone reputable (something we touched upon in an article earlier this summer.) So before you put your belongings in the hands of strangers, watch out for these red flags:
Deals Too Good To Be True
As the old saying goes “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” The same implies with moving companies. If they are giving you an estimate or a flat rate without taking a look at what they’re going to be hauling, then expect to pay more later down the road. Most moving scams will come from movers offering unbelievable rates, only to hold your stuff hostage for more money once it’s on their truck.
Do your research and make sure there are no additional fees later on. If signing a contract, make sure you read the fine print, and question anything that seems suspicious.
A Security Deposit
Always question companies that require you to pay a security deposit before any actual service. You don’t want to pay a deposit, only to find out the company doesn’t show up on the day of the move.
No Website or Listings
In today’s world every company should have some sort of website. If the moving company you’re trying to make a deal with isn’t showing up online or under any type of listing, you should look elsewhere. Some moving scammers will haul away your stuff, then change their name to avoid detection, leaving you left with nothing. Make sure the moving company you choose has a reliable website with positive feedback.
This goes hand in hand with website. Find out what others thought of the experience with the moving company. If you see a laundry list of bad reviews, chances are your experience is going to add to that list.
Fraudulent Moving Ads (Criagstlist)
Whenever looking for something on Cragislist, you should ALWAYS approach with caution. Craigslist’s scams are very high in volume and people are getting swindled right now as you read this. In teams of moving, the most common fraudulent ads appear in the hopes to attract college students to awesome off-campus housing at unbelievable prices. Lookout for these red flags, and NEVER give money to someone before meeting with them first at the location of the property.
Deposits Without Meeting
The most common message you’ll get when talking with a scammer is something along the lines of “the family who’s renting the house is out of town for a week. Just wire the deposit and the rental will be all yours!” Sounds sketchy right? That’s because it is. Fraudulent ad scammers also go as far as finding houses that are actually listed for rent/sale on other reputable sites and then post the listings to Craiglist in hopes of getting your deposit without ever meeting.
The best way to avoid this is to go through a Realtor or call the number on the for rent sign. Never give any money before looking at the property.