All About the Moving Company Scam That Turns the Move to a Dream Home Into a Nightmare
Picture the thrill of moving into a new home, the excitement of creating a beautiful living space, only to find out that the dream sold to you was a nightmare hiding a scam.
That's exactly what happened to Michael and Traci Crotteau, who had been preparing to relocate their family from Minnesota to Hot Springs.
The Crotteaus, like countless other families across the country, fell victim to misplaced trust and found themselves caught up in a frustrating pursuit to retrieve their belongings.
How the scam played out
The Crotteaus initially signed a contract worth $8,000 for smooth transportation. But on the eve of the scheduled move, the moving company informed them that they needed an additional truck, and demanded $5,000 more. Yet the movers arrived two days late, without boxes, and with only one truck.
As part of the scam, trucks split their load because they can manipulate customers who need to pay for the truck that is 75-80% full and another one too if they want it. Amidst the chaos, the Crotteaus were asked for $12,000 more in cash and to sign another contract, while their belongings were en route to Hot Springs. Despite questioning the unexpected charges, they felt trapped and ended up paying the demanded amount.
After the first truck eventually arrived at their new house, the scammers again demanded $12,000 in cash, at which point the family refused and called the police.
Not the only victims
Although law enforcement deemed it a civil matter, the family was determined to retrieve their belongings. They placed an Apple air tag on a spring mattress attached to the back of the truck, hoping to track its location. While coordinating with investigators, they discovered that the same moving company had scammed someone else in Texas. After cooperating with law enforcement, they were able to recover their belongings from a storage facility in Dallas.
What was the company's response?
When KATV reached out to the company, it released the statement that they sympathize with the families effected by this scam that has been taking place for months. It added that People have been booking long distance moves giving their consumers the impression that they are a fully licensed and insured company. The firm claimed that it was cooperating with the FBI and law enforcement to rectify this issue as soon as possible and urged other victims to contact local law enforcement.
In 2022, a spokesperson from the FMCSA revealed that they had received over 7,500 complaints against moving companies, which was more than twice the number of consumer-filed complaints in 2015 at 3,030. Furthermore, the FMCSA mentioned their collaboration with state agencies, including attorney general's offices, to combat the escalation in moving scams.
How to stay protectedThe
Crotteaus have advised others to check the moving company's U.S. DOT number, verify the company's physical address, thoroughly review contracts, and obtain receipts for all payments. They also recommend filing insurance claims and fraud reports with agencies like the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the attorney general of their state to help recover belongings in such situation.
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