MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is warning residents of a potential increase in moving scams as home sales skyrocket.
Moody is issuing a Consumer Alert to help consumers avoid moving-related scams, as an increase in home sales comes with a demand for movers.
“Florida is red hot. Our low taxes, growing economy, common-sense leadership and great weather has people from all over rushing to move here. Couple all that with a booming real estate market and the potential for scams increases,” said Moody.
“If you are a Floridian buying a new house or moving here from out of state to enjoy our great weather and growing economy, be wary of moving scams. From refusing to provide a written estimate to requiring a large, upfront deposit or payment in cash, these are all red flags that consumers can look for to help them identify a potential moving scam and avoid falling prey.”
The office of the attorney general says common moving scams involve movers packing up and transporting household goods and then refusing to release them until the consumer pays an additional high fee.
Another scheme used by fraudsters, according to Moody’s office, is giving a low-ball offer to secure a moving job but then increasing the rate significantly upon arrival and threatening to avoid doing the job unless paid upfront.
Here is what consumers should do in order to avoid falling victim to these and other moving scams:
• Never sign any blank or incomplete documents or contracts;
• Obtain moving estimates and quotes from the company in writing and make sure the estimates are binding;
• Determine whether the movers will perform the move alone or if the company will be subcontracting with another carrier; and
• Beware if movers show up in rental trucks without uniformed personnel.
No word if the rise in home sales throughout the state is partially due to the increased divorce rate during the pandemic.
Moving scams can be reported to the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at MyFloridaLegal.com.