Atlas Van Lines, a national household goods moving company, says consumers planning a move need to protect themselves against moving fraud. More than 40 million Americans move each year, and while most moves go smoothly, consumers need to be aware of a nationwide moving scam.
The scam occurs when criminals pose online as reputable movers and obtain customer contact information. They give extremely low price estimates, and use the name and credentials of trusted, reputable firms. After loading belongings into a truck, the criminals change the price estimate, tack on extra charges and hold the goods hostage until the consumer pays a higher price.
Some individuals have been duped recently by companies claiming to be major moving companies or that use names that are very similar to the names of legitimate movers. These rogues may even send customers to the legitimate company's website. Atlas recently launched a new consumer website that allows visitors to verify a genuine Atlas mover. Atlas is working with state and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate recent cases of moving fraud.
Atlas suggests consumers should be cautious when using online moving resources other than the website of the carrier that will actually be transporting your goods. Other Atlas safety tips suggest being suspicious of an estimate that seems too good to be true, confirming that the carrier transporting your goods is legitimate by reviewing its website or making a phone call and being leery of paying a large sum for moving services up front rather than upon delivery.
It is also smart to understand what services and fees you are paying for, by getting a written estimate of all charges. If the moving truck is not identified with the name of the contracted carrier, customers should contact the carrier directly and ask why. In the event that a scam does occur, contact the local police department and file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).