Money Matters: Beware of moving fraud

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Moving can be a major undertaking, from buying a home to getting a mortgage and paying it down. For buyers and renters, too, there can be unexpected costs of relocating to another city, from cost-of-living to tax structure differences.

There’s another risk too.

Particularly with moves to a new state or cross-country, moving fraud is a real risk.

NBC Connecticut recently reported that a local moving company is facing a Department of Transportation investigation following multiple complaints of moving fraud, including refusing to deliver belongings without being paid additional charges beyond the agreed upon rate.

NBC Connecticut also reports the U.S. Attorney’s Office believes there may be more than 900 victims in this scheme, and it’s not the only one like it.

In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, part of the Department of Transportation, has created a website for movers with information about types of fraud, red flags, a fraud prevention checklist, and complaint database.

The American Moving and Storage Association also offers a “ProMover” program designed to help find a legitimate mover.

As moving season wraps up, check with your local Better Business Bureau. Have there been any increases in complaints against particular moving companies?

How much do movers typically cost, and how much could someone lose – in dollars and possessions – by falling victim to moving fraud?

How can those planning moves protect themselves and their bank accounts from potential moving fraud?

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Weekly Money Matters personal finance content for your newsroom is sponsored by the National Endowment for Financial Education.