movingscams2023

Study from 2023: Moving Scams Up 12% From Last Year

movingscams2023

Major Findings

Compared to the previous year, in the U.S.A., 12% more moving scam reports were submitted to the Better Business Bureau in 2023.

By the end of 2023, moving company complaints are expected to increase by 35% year over year after declining in 2022.

Moving scams are predicted to cost $1.59 million in total in 2023, 42% more than they did in 2018.

Moving scams will cost consumers $836 on average in 2023, a 7% increase over 2022.

Moving scams occur most frequently (one in every 4,426 moves) in Wyoming and least often (one in every 41,410 moves) in Texas.

In 2022, moving fraud may have decreased after reaching its peak during the COVID-19 pandemic years. The Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker predicts a rise of 35% over the previous year.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (F.M.C.S.A.) started the Protect Your Move initiative in April of this year in response to this trend. According to our data, this information is crucial because, between May and August of any given year, about half (45%) of all movements occur.

We’re presently in what the industry refers to as “the moving season,” so let’s examine the most recent trends in moving scams, the most typical frauds in 2023, and the areas where you’ll most likely encounter these scams.

Movers Beware: In 2023, Moving Fraud Will Increase

Our research of the Better Business Bureau (B.B.B.) data revealed that the number of moving scam reports decreased by 60% in 2022 after increasing substantially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic years of 2020–2021.

12% more fraud reports have been reported to the B.B.B.’s fraud Tracker in the first five months of 2023 than at the same time last year, so this encouraging trend is unlikely to continue this year. And that is before the moving season, which is the summer’s three months when demand for moving services and overall moves peaks.

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Moving Scams Are Set to Rise Again

At this rate, there would be 194 recorded moving scams overall in 2023, a 35% increase from the previous year. 

Even though it would be greater than any non-epidemic year since 2016, it would still be considerably lower than we saw during the pandemic.

Hidden Costs: Moving Scams’ Ongoing Financial Toll

As if the rise in relocation fraud weren’t enough, American customers also report losses to con artists. The typical sum allegedly lost to con artists in 2022 was $784. Moving fraud will cost the U.S. $836 on average in 2023, a 7% increase from the previous year.

 

“This year, there have been more instances of mover fraud (24%) and no-shows (26%) than in previous years. Together, they make up 50% of relocation scams reported to the B.B.B. (up from 40% last year).

 

It’s important to note that this growth isn’t the result of a few costly frauds distorting the average figure. Moving scams have cost victims $260 on average so far in 2023. The amount is significantly more considerable than the $190 from the previous year.

 

What about the overall monetary cost of moving scams? According to the most recent B.B.B. Scam Tracker data, it presently stands at about $2.2 million annually, extrapolating from the assumption that just 10% of fraud events get reported.

The cost of moving fraud is anticipated to increase in 2023. American consumers have already lost an estimated $543,000 in the first five months of this year, which is 42% more than moving scams claimed during the same period in 2022.

By the end of the year, the total amount lost due to relocation scams might approach $1.5 million if the current pattern holds.

Moving Scams by State:

Wyoming has the most of them, and Kansas has the highest cost.
Wyoming emerges as the state with the lowest ratio of moves to scams, according to the most recent data on moving scams and the number of people moving in each state. In Wyoming, there is one scam recorded for every 4,426 relocations.

Vermont (one fraud per 6,548 moves) and South Dakota (one scam per 6,783 moves) are in second and third place, respectively, in this sad ranking.

The three west coast states of the U.S.—Oregon, Washington, and California—all rank among the top 10 states with the highest prevalence of moving fraud.

state moving graphic

Scam Techniques: America's Most Common Moving Scams

The change of address scam is the most typical moving scam reported to the B.B.B., consistent with last year’s findings.

The offenders use this tactic to deceive consumers who have recently moved into paying a fee (often $99.95 or more) for altering their address. A website impersonates the United States Postal Service (U.S.P.S.) website that victims are directed to. 31% of reported scams involve this, down from 37% last year.

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This year, there have been more instances of mover fraud (24%) and no-shows (26%). Together, they make up 50% of relocation scams reported to the B.B.B. (up from 40% last year).

A no-show scam occurs when a moving business requests a deposit or other upfront payment, which is made, but no movers arrive on the day of the move. You often can’t get in touch with the “moving company” later.

Moving fraud is a subcategory that includes phony moving companies that pretend to be legitimate moving companies and, in worst-case scenarios, hold people’s things hostage until a ransom is paid (also known as a “hostage load”).
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration launched a crackdown on hostage loads in April of this year due to a spike in “complaints of movers holding household possessions hostage to extort exorbitant additional charges from consumers.”

The other 19% of scams could only be classified into one category. They were a combination of dubious movers breaking their agreements, overcharging, offering discounts in exchange for good evaluations, and more.

pay attention with scams

How to Move Safely and Securely: Avoid Moving Scams

We have put together the following advice to assist you in staying away from scams while moving.

To prevent fraud and ensure a decent deal, compare several offers. Be wary of much lower or higher quotes, needing more specifics, having written contracts, and requiring large down payments.
Examine the business’s web presence. Moving firms that are reliable have websites and listings. Lack of a web presence or frequent name changes could indicate a dubious company.
Look up reputable client testimonials. Examine previous client testimonials and steer clear of businesses with a track record of unhappy clients.
Keep a thorough inventory of your belongings. Make a complete inventory of the stuff you brought and consider taking pictures. Being organized makes it easier to spot missing belongings following a move and prevent theft.
Your most expensive valuables should be locked up. Pack fragile objects securely in lockable moving crates to avoid tampering or theft.
Think about getting relocation insurance. Insurance companies will pay Financial losses resulting from lost or damaged possessions that might be covered by moving insurance. It is advised to purchase third-party insurance in the event of a dishonest moving company.

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