How to spot (and avoid) a moving scam

author avatar Written by Aaron Steed

You’re moving! What an exciting time, a time of new beginnings, new routines, and new environments. Moving can also be stressful, unfamiliar, and a lot of work (who knew you had so much stuff!) Your items have made your residence a home, and now it is time to move them. According to an AMSA finding, 21% of people hire a moving company to help save time, prevent injuries caused by heavy lifting, and to enjoy a hassle free moving experience. To keep the moving experience hassle free, one must find the right movers, and know how to avoid moving scams.

We’ve all heard the stories of a moving company creating a stressful situation by showing up late, damaging goods, or even holding your items hostage for more money! Sadly, these unfortunate events, and even more, can happen to anyone. Here are 3 easiest ways to spot a moving company scam.

How to spot and avoid a moving scam


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ensures the safety of motor vehicles that carry goods with safety regulations using the help of Federal, State, and local enforcement agencies. All moving companies that operate commercial vehicles and/or hauling cargo across state lines must be registered with The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), have a USDOT number, and comply with Federal Regulations. If your move isn’t as grand, the moving company should still be licensed through the Bureau of Household Goods and Services or accredited through a third party regulatory agency. Reach out to these agencies to ensure the moving companies you are prospecting are lawful.

Unbelievable low rates

Follow the saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. The moving company cost will typically begin with a lower estimate and then at a later time, you’ll receive the final price. Getting an extremely low estimate is a big indicator that all they want is your money, while putting in the least amount of effort (a.k.a. moving your things). These “scams” will typically skip an at home or in person estimate, have you sign a contract before understanding the amount of needed manpower, and require full or partial upfront payments.

Reviews are your friend

Not all reviews are created equal. Seek reviews from third party sites and ignore the star rating. What is most important about a review is seeing what “real” people are saying, the issue(s) they faced, and their praises if any. A website having a glowing review page on THEIR website is easy to create and can be manipulated to give you false hope. Don’t let that be your only source of reviews.

Stay up-to-date with the news

Staying up to date on the top stories of recent moving company scams is a great way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. There are obvious trends and tricks these companies like to gravitate towards (a few more popular strategies are stated above) but to be well versed in even the least trendy scam areas is important. Staying one step ahead of these criminals by utilizing the news and online news searches is a great way to know their next more and prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

These areas are easy and time efficient ways to check the validity of a moving company and prevent you from being scammed by a moving company. The top moving companies are ones that genuinely want to help you, typically are upfront and honest, have paperwork and have solid third-party reviews to back their quality. There are many qualified moving companies out there, but only a few really stand out.

Meathead Movers in particular are a tier above the competition. They are staffed with clean-cut, respectful, and responsible collegiate athletes who have been professionally trained, background checked, and drug tested. To ensure more peace of mind, Meathead Movers offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee and assigns you a complementary personal concierge available 7 days a week. The company has glowing third party reviews as well as a license through a proper accreditation.

If you have unfortunately become a victim to a moving company scam, you can report your fraud event to the FMCSA’s National Consumer Complaint Database online or call the toll-free number at 1-888-368-7238.

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