How Many Americans Get Scammed by Moving Companies?

Joe Roberts
Researcher & Writer
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Edited By Sarah Cimarusti
April 07, 2022
2 min read

Moving scams are a bigger problem than you may think. Since January of 2020, over 660 moving scams have been reported to the Better Business Bureau in the United States alone,[1] and customer reviews everywhere are chock-full of horror stories about last-minute price hikes, lost deposits, and “movers” that take household goods hostage for more money.

We reached out to 600 people who moved in the last two years and asked about their experiences. Roughly 40% of them said they got scammed by their movers, and we found several common business practices among the scammers to watch out for.

Scammers often vanish without a trace before they can be held accountable, so there isn’t a comprehensive list of companies to avoid. But keep reading to learn about the red flags of a moving scam and get some advice for finding a reputable moving company near you.

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Need to find a trustworthy mover quickly?

Learning all you can about moving scams is the best way to keep you and your belongings safe, but if you’re in a hurry and need a mover now, you can hire one of the companies on our list of trustworthy movers. We’ve thoroughly vetted each company on that list to weed out the scammers, so we only recommend the cream of the crop.


Key findings from our survey

  • 4 in 10 moving customers got scammed by their moving company.
  • 50% of respondents who moved to another state felt scammed.
  • Over a third of scam victims were scammed by moving brokers.
  • 59% were charged more than they were quoted.
  • 48% pursued legal action after getting scammed.
  • 63% filed formal complaints after their moving services.
  • 69% said that the company they hired is still in operation.
  • 47% said the scamming company changed its name since their move.
  • 50% felt scammed by a moving truck rental company.
  • 26% felt scammed by a moving and storage container company.

How much money did the moving scam victims lose?

  • 12% were scammed out of $50–$100.
  • 46% were scammed out of $100–$500.
  • 17% were scammed out of $500–$1,000.
  • 10% were scammed out of $1,000–$3,000.

Red flags to watch out for

To help you hire a reputable moving company and avoid scammers, we’ve compiled a list of common moving scam  tactics reported by our survey respondents. Watch out for these telltale signs of a moving scam:

  • Exceptionally low prices: 40% of respondents said scammers gave them extremely low quotes compared to what other moving companies gave them. This is part of the reason you should get quotes from multiple moving companies. You’ll only know a quote is suspiciously low if you have other quotes for comparison.
  • Terrible customer reviews: 36% of respondents said the scammers all had lots of bad reviews. Be sure to check for complaints on independent review sites like Yelp and Google reviews. Don’t just trust the customer reviews featured on a moving company’s website—those can be easily fabricated.
  • No timeline: 25% of respondents said the scammers didn’t provide a delivery timeline for when their household goods would be delivered. If a company won’t even give you a rough timeline for delivery, beware.
  • No insurance options: 30% of respondents said that the scammers didn’t offer any insurance or transit protection for their move. Moving insurance is always optional, so you don’t have to purchase it, but you should avoid movers that don’t even offer it.

Moving scams are always evolving, and as more customers get savvy to their tactics, scammers develop new tricks. However, watching out for the warning signs we’ve listed can ensure you don’t fall prey to a dishonest moving company.

If you want to be even more thorough, check out our guide to spotting a moving scam. There, we’ll teach you how to vet a mover by checking its licensing, history, and pricing practices.


Sources

  1. Better Business Bureau, “BBB Scam Tracker℠.” Accessed March 28, 2022.
Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over four years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.