Potential scams to watch for if you're planning to move

Planning a move? The scams you should know about
Posted at 6:40 AM, May 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-13 13:44:00-04

BOISE, Ida. — May is National Moving Month and with a booming housing market in the Treasure Valley, lots of people are likely to be on the move this spring and summer. While moving can be exciting, you'll want to be cautious if you're hiring movers.

Between packing up your belongings, loading it all up into a truck to move across town or out of state, and then unpacking it all, moving is a long process. You can choose to do the move yourself, making sure to take into account the time and cost associated with packing, supplies, and truck rentals.

If you choose to hire movers, however, start by researching your options. Ask family and friends for honest recommendations and check ratings and reviews with Better Business Bureau. Be wary of scams that often target people who are looking to move.

One way people get scammed is by getting a quote and leaving a deposit, with the "movers" never showing up. In another variation, the moving company quotes a price based on weight. After loading, they inform you that your belongings went over the weight estimate and the additional weight will be a lot more per pound--sometimes double the original quote.

Another common scheme includes "movers" quoting a price, arriving on time and loading your belongings on a truck, but the truck never arrives at your new home. Your belongings are simply gone forever or are being held hostage, forcing you to pay another fee before scammers will deliver them.

So how can you avoid becoming a victim of a moving scam? Moving companies are one of the top industries the BBB receives complaints about, so it's important to do your research and make sure you hire a legitimate and trustworthy company. Consumers who hire an illegal company usually have little or no recourse if their belongings are damaged, lost or stolen. BBB Accredited businesses are required to be up-to-date with all their licensing.

Get free in-home estimates and compare costs and make sure to get everything in writing. Many moving contracts contain complicated legal language, so it's suggested you avoid signing anything if you have concerns. Make sure to ask questions about the insured value of your belongings and any fees or surcharges not included in the estimate.

For more information on scams to watch for, check out the BBB website here.