When disasters affect our fellow Americans, they seem to bring out the best in most of us and the worst in some of us. While many people are volunteering their time and donating money to help those who have suffered as a result of the recent storms, some are taking advantage of a vulnerable situation. For example, post-hurricane Harvey and Irma a slew of moving scams have surfaced targeting victims.
Moving scammers can operate anywhere. Beware of any moving service that gives you a low estimate over the phone or Internet without seeing your furniture or home first. This is a good hint that it could be a scam.
Here are the signs to look for to identify a moving scam:
- The moving service says they take cash only or demands a hefty down payment before they have done any work.
- The moving service insists that you sign paperwork that is missing parts, doesn’t seem right, or is blank. Never sign anything until after the move.
- You can’t find a local business address for the moving company. Most legitimate moving services will have a local address somewhere on their website, advertisements or in the phone book.
- They are not bonded, registered or insured. Or they claim that all of your belongings no matter the value are covered under their insurance.
- Generic communication is also a sign. Take note in how they answer their phone: do they use a professional greeting? Is their email connected to their web address, or is it a generic email account anyone could make?
- Their moving trucks are not branded or appear to be rented.
Due diligence is vital when hiring a moving company. Be sure to fully vet anyone before allowing them access to your property and don’t sign anything if you are not sure they are a legitimate company.