Moving Fraud

People often feel helpless when they are exploited by dishonest moving companies. But you can take steps before, during, and after the moving process to protect yourself and your belongings. By following the tips below, you can reduce the chances of become a victim.

Before You Move:

  • Start your research as early as possible. Taking the time to carefully research your options will help you select a reputable mover. You should check on a business’ complaint history and reputation with organizations like the Better Business Bureau. Friends, neighbors, relatives, and internet review services may offer suggestions. 
  • Check their license or registration. For moves to or from Arizona, movers are required to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and have a U.S. DOT number. You can confirm the mover’s registration bychecking the FMCSA website or by calling the FMCSA at (202) 385-2423. 
  • Know your rights. The federal government publishes two helpful booklets detailing your rights in the moving process: “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” and “Ready to Move.” Interstate movers are required to give you a copy of these booklets, but you should review this information before selecting a mover. These booklets and other information are available at
  • Get at least three written on-site estimates. Not all price quotes online or over the phone are legitimate. Remember that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic, low-ball offer, which may cost you more in the end. In contrast, most reputable moving companies will do an in-home visit in order to give you a more accurate estimate, and will provide that estimate in writing. 
  • Ask about charges. Moving companies could surprise you with hidden fees, so ask about all charges before selecting a mover, and find out what method they will use to calculate your bill. Be aware that although in-state movers are allowed to charge hourly rates, you cannot control how much time the moving company takes to move your belongings. Make sure your written estimate includes all charges, so you have something to rely on if the mover later tries to change the agreement. 
  • Be careful with brokers. Ask moving companies if they are a mover or a broker. A broker may have a professional website or salesperson, but will hire a third-party moving company to complete your move, and you have no control over who the broker chooses.
  • Move some items separately. If you have valuable items (such as cash, electronics, or jewelry), important medical items (such as medications or inhalers), or confidential items (such as bank statements), move those items yourself and keep them in a safe place during the move.

Moving Day:

  • Be present throughout the process. Being present when your goods are loaded allows you to answer questions, give directions, and ensure that nothing is left behind.
  • Select adequate insurance. Interstate movers are required under federal law to offer a minimum level of damage protection, but that minimum level is based on the weight of the item, not its value. This minimum coverage is only 60 cents per pound. If you sign for that option on the bill of lading, you may receive far less for your damaged or lost items than you would expect. For example, if a 50-pound TV you bought for $500 is damaged or lost in the move, that protection would only pay you $30 for that item. If you want full coverage, you’ll need to purchase full damage coverage from the mover or purchase insurance from a third party. Additionally, you can check to see if your homeowner's or renter's insurance would cover any loss or damage during moves.
  • Carefully read documents before signing them and get copies of all documents you sign. Dishonest movers could alter estimates and add undisclosed charges the day of the move. Review all documents closely before signing, and don’t sign anything that you don’t agree to or understand. Make sure that you obtain and keep copies of all documents you sign.   

Delivery Day:

  • Be present throughout the process. This will allow you to direct the movers, answer questions, and check your goods against the inventory list.
  • Pay the mover what is owed. In interstate moves, fees are typically based on weight or volume, and part of the mover’s fee will often be owed at the time of delivery. The fee for an interstate move should be paid when the mover arrives to unload your items. In any case, if the mover demands more than is owed, call the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s moving hotline at 602-223-5000 or (602) 223-2212.  
  • Check your goods before signing an inventory list. Moving companies provide an inventory list showing the delivered items. In most cases, by signing that list, you affirm that the items were delivered and were undamaged. Before signing the inventory list, carefully check to insure you have your items, and inspect them for damage.

After Your Move:

  • Tell us what happened. If you believe you may have been victimized by moving fraud or witnessed an attempted scam, please file a complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.  

Been scammed?
File a complaint today.

The Attorney General’s Office is here to help. If you believe you are the victim of a consumer scam or fraud, file a consumer complaint online right now. You can also call:

Phoenix: (602) 542-5763

Tucson: (520) 628-6648

Outside metro areas: (800) 352-8431

Bilingual consumer protection staff is available to assist.