In 2016, there were over 3,600 reported complaints of interstate moving fraud. The offenses include taking goods hostage, overcharges, loss and damage, and insurance issues. The average loss claim was a jaw-dropping $8,000.

HOW IT WORKS 

Rogue movers typically give you a low estimate over the phone or online without ever seeing the goods you want moved. Once your items are on their truck, they demand more money. They force you to pay more if you want your goods back.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW 

Red flags that you aren’t dealing with a legitimate moving company:

  • It doesn’t offer or agree to an onsite inspection.
  • It demands cash or a large deposit upfront.
  • It does not provide a written estimate.
  • The company’s website has no local address and no information about their registration or insurance.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

  • Do a search on the name of the company you are planning to use to check for complaints, company contact information and safety information.
  • Find out if the company you are talking to is the same company that will move you. If it’s not, research the actual moving company, too.
  • Don’t sign a contract until you know who you are dealing with.

The federal government and legitimate moving companies are working together to fight interstate moving fraud. Go to www.protectyourmove.gov for a helpful checklist and to learn more.

If you spot interstate moving fraud, alert the SD Division of Consumer Protections by calling 1-800-300-1986 or visiting consumer.sd.gov. They can investigate your claims and warn other South Dakotans to stay vigilant.

When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You can join the Fraud Watch Network and receive alerts about scams happening in South Dakota. Any one of any age can join for free by visiting aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or to receive Fraud Watch Network alerts by phone, call 1-866-542-8172.