The Feds launch a nationwide crackdown on moving scammers

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The agency provides a database that details how good or bad a moving company might be

Moving somewhere this year? You and 20 million others! And guess who else is coming along for the ride? Moving scammers.

The possibility of families being scammed is so great that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has launched Operation Protect Your Move, a nationwide crackdown that the agency hopes will put rogue moving companies in their place before the busy summer moving season kicks in. 

The FMCSA will have its hands full with nearly 7,000 moving companies in the U.S. and trying to reduce the 7,500 scam complaints it got in 2022, but it’s officially loaded for bear.

The agency is sending out dozens of investigators across the country to revoke the license of every bad actor they find and put them out of business for good. At the top of the scrutiny list are both movers and brokers who hold household possessions hostage to extort exorbitant additional charges from consumers. 

Other frequent complaints landing on the FMCSA’s desk accuse companies of:

  • Using misleading business practices intended to force consumers to pay higher fees

  • Unreasonably delaying when household goods are delivered, or in some cases…

  • Not delivering someone’s possessions at all. 

Proactively, FMCSA will work directly with consumers to guide them through the process and, when things go wrong, help get their money and goods back.

How to keep a moving scam from happening

According to ConsumerAffairs moving expert Tom Rains, there are 10 red flags that consumers can look for that will identify what moving companies are dead ringers for scammers. His Top 5 will show up like this:

  1. You can’t find company information: If you're on a mover’s website and can’t find a physical address, mover’s registration or proof of insurance, that’s a red flag. 

  2. The company only does phone estimates: If a company refuses to come to your home to make a final estimate, that’s another red flag. 

  3. The mover demands a significant down payment: A small down payment is normal (usually under 20%), but scammers sometimes ask for large down payments, pocket them and disappear. 

  4. The bid is suspicious: If one quote is dramatically lower than the other, that’s a red flag, too. Rains said that consumers should be wary of companies that refuse to put estimates in writing.

  5. The moving company doesn’t mention your rights and responsibilities: By law, licensed movers must provide their customers with a packet entitled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” before interstate moves.

You can find Rains’ other five red flags, here.

FMCSA also provides important information on its website at for consumers planning an interstate move. The two most valuable things ConsumerAffairs found the agency provides the public are 1) a database of registered movers and 2) a downloadable moving checklist that covers every single thing that a mover should do and what a consumer can do if anything goes wrong.

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