Tips to avoid fake long distance moving companies
Tips to avoid fake long distance moving companies
Tips for moving
November 12, 2023

The Rise of Scams: How to Avoid Fake Long Distance Moving Companies

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Moving is often accompanied by excitement and anticipation, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare when dealing with fake long-distance moving companies. Unfortunately, the rise of scams in the moving industry has become a concerning trend, preying on unsuspecting individuals during a vulnerable time. This article aims to shed light on the tactics employed by fraudulent moving companies and provide a comprehensive guide on how to avoid falling victim to these scams.

Why do Moving Companies Scam People?

Some moving companies may scam people primarily for financial gain through deceptive practices, exploiting the vulnerability and stress associated with the moving process. These scams often involve providing lowball estimates to lure customers, only to inflate prices later or hold belongings hostage until exorbitant fees are paid.

Fake Moving Companies May Be a No-Show After Paying A Deposit

Immoral movers may operate without proper licenses, avoiding legal consequences for subpar service. The lack of regulation in the industry allows dishonest companies to engage in bait-and-switch tactics, unprofessional behavior, or even outright theft of possessions. The financial incentives, combined with the transient nature of the service and the personal nature of the belongings being transported, make the moving industry susceptible to fraudulent activities targeting unsuspecting customers.

Lowball Estimates

Scam-moving companies often lure customers in with unbelievably low estimates. While everyone wants to save money, these lowball offers should raise red flags. Legitimate movers provide realistic estimates based on the weight of items and distance.

No On-Site Inspection

Reputable moving companies conduct on-site inspections to provide accurate estimates. Scammers, on the other hand, may give estimates over the phone or online without ever seeing the items to be moved.

Lack of Licensing and Insurance

Legitimate movers are licensed and insured, providing a level of accountability and protection for your belongings. Fake companies may lack the necessary licenses and insurance, putting your items at risk. Customers may not have legal recourse if their belongings are damaged or lost during the move. Legitimate moving companies are required to be licensed by the appropriate authorities.

Demanding Large Deposits

Be cautious if a moving company demands a large upfront deposit. Reputable movers typically request payment upon delivery. Scammers may ask for a significant deposit and disappear with your money.

Vague or Generic Company Information

Legitimate moving companies have a physical address, licensing information, and clear branding. Scammers may provide vague details, making it challenging to verify legitimacy.

Holding Belongings Hostage

After loading the customer's belongings onto the truck, the moving company refuses to unload them until the customer pays a much higher price. In this case, customers are left in a vulnerable position, forced to pay the inflated fee to retrieve their possessions.

No Written Estimate or Contract

Some fraudulent movers avoid providing written estimates or contracts, making it difficult for customers to hold them accountable. Without a clear agreement, the moving company may charge whatever amount they desire, leading to disputes and potential financial loss for the customer.

Fake Reviews and References

Some companies create fake positive reviews or references to appear reputable and trustworthy. Customers may be misled into hiring a moving company with a poor track record, as the fraudulent reviews do not accurately reflect the quality of service.

Bait-and-Switch Tactics

Movers provide a low initial estimate but claim that the actual weight or volume of belongings is higher than anticipated, leading to inflated costs. Customers are then faced with unexpectedly high bills that far exceed the original estimate, leaving them with little recourse.

Unprofessional Behavior

Some moving companies exhibit unprofessionalism, such as showing up late, using unmarked trucks, or having inexperienced or untrained staff. Customers may experience damaged or lost items due to poor handling, and the overall moving experience can be stressful and unreliable.

How to Avoid Scams

Unfortunately, the rise of scams in the moving industry has made this process more daunting than ever. Fake long-distance moving companies prey on unsuspecting individuals, causing not only financial loss but also emotional distress.

Ensure The Moving Company Is Licensed Before Hiring Them

Here are a few steps to follow to avoid moving scams:

1. Research Extensively

Before entrusting your belongings to a moving company, conduct thorough research. Utilize online platforms, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB), to check the company's reputation and customer reviews. Legitimate companies will have a track record of positive feedback, while scams often leave a trail of complaints and warnings.

2. Verify Licensing and Credentials

Legitimate moving companies are required to be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for interstate moves. Verify the company's credentials on the FMCSA website to ensure they meet the legal requirements. Additionally, check for affiliations with reputable moving associations as a further indicator of credibility.

3. Get In-Person Estimates

Be wary of companies that provide estimates over the phone or online without seeing your belongings. Reputable movers will conduct an in-person assessment to provide accurate quotes. This not only helps you budget appropriately but also establishes a level of transparency that is often lacking in scam operations.

4. Beware of Lowball Quotes

Scam moving companies often lure customers with exceptionally low quotes, only to increase the price significantly after loading the belongings onto the truck. Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true, and opt for companies that provide realistic and transparent pricing.

5. Check for Red Flags

Pay attention to warning signs that could indicate a potential scam. Lack of a physical address, generic company names, and unprofessional communication are all red flags. Legitimate movers will have a professional online presence, clear contact information, and a physical office or warehouse.

6. Understand Insurance and Liability

Clarify the insurance coverage offered by the moving company. Scam operations may skimp on insurance, leaving your belongings vulnerable to damage or loss. Ensure you understand the extent of coverage and liability protection before signing any contracts.

7. Read and Understand Contracts

Take the time to read and understand all aspects of the moving contract. Scammers may include hidden fees or clauses that work to their advantage. Legitimate companies provide clear, detailed contracts that outline all terms and conditions.

8. Trust Your Instincts

If something feels off during the process, trust your instincts. Scam-moving companies often use high-pressure tactics or exhibit unprofessional behavior. If you feel uncomfortable or sense that the company is not genuine, consider exploring other options.

9. Report Suspicious Activity

If you encounter a potentially fraudulent moving company, report it to the FMCSA, BBB, and other relevant authorities. Your report can help prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.


Navigating the rise of scams in the long-distance moving industry requires diligence, research, and a keen eye for red flags. The surge in fake long-distance moving companies underscores the importance of vigilance and thorough research when choosing a mover. By understanding the tactics employed by scammers and following the guidelines provided in this article, individuals can safeguard themselves against falling victim to moving scams. 

Moving is stressful enough without the added burden of dealing with fraudulent companies, so arm yourself with the knowledge to make informed and secure decisions during your relocation journey.

Contact us today at (718) 619-4881 for a stress-free move by professional movers. Visit our website for more of our services.


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