With movers in high demand, scammers are taking advantage of people who are relocating over large distances using moving brokers, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
“The scam being used involves a person contacting a broker to request a quote and to contract for in moving services for their household items and personal property,” officials said.
The broker will collect a partial payment for services, up to as much as 30 percent of the quoted moving fees and will then send a subcontracted or independent “mover” to collect up to 50 percent of the remaining balance owed for the move.
When the mover has received funds, which are generally only accepted in cash or internet payment like Venmo, the mover will take the property that is expected to be moved and delivered to a new residence and load it into a moving truck. The mover will never deliver the property to be moved as promised. Instead, the mover deposits the property into a storage unit and abandons it for auction by the storage company when payment for the storage unit is not made.
“The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office strongly encourages any members of the public to use caution when using a moving brokerage or moving company to facilitate moving from place to place, especially over great distances between states,” investigators said.
Other tips include:
• Read and retain copies of all contracts and receipts.
•Completely understand what services you are contracting for.
•Identify all persons, if possible, by taking photographs of valid identifications, of the persons who are taking possession of your property for the purposes of moving it.
• Require a detailed itinerary for the route of travel for your property and an accurate delivery date for when your belongings will arrive.
• Exercise due diligence in researching the history and background of the moving broker and movers who you contract with to move your belongings.
• Always take extra care whenever anyone insists on being paid in cash.
“If you are unwittingly taken advantage of by this emerging scam your belongings may never be recovered and the money taken by the moving broker and mover may also never be recovered,” officials said.
For more information, contact Investigator Steve Schultz or Leland Love at 775-782-9905 and refer to moving scam.