Moving is an exciting time, but when transitioning your entire life from one place to another, it’s important to protect your personal information from being compromised.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, moving fraud can be easily avoided by taking simple yet effective precautions before, after and during a move. The last thing you want during a hectic time, such as moving, is the added stress of identity theft or moving company scams.
In order to safeguard yourself and your family, check out these tips to keep yourself safe from moving fraud and scams during the moving process.
1. Avoid Moving Company Fraud
There’s many ways to protect yourself from fraud when it comes to hiring and using a moving company. While USDT enforces strict rules and penalties for any moving companies that violate fraud laws, they also stress that it is the customer’s responsibility to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves as well. Below is a list of customer responsibilities listed on the “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration.
- Read all moving documents issued by the mover or broker and compare provided moving quotes to competitor rates.
- Be available at the time of pickup and delivery of your shipment or appoint a representative on your behalf.
- Promptly notify your moving company if something has changed regarding the moving date or items to be moved.
- Make payment in the amount required and in the form agreed to with the mover and make sure to obtain a receipt.
- Getting moving insurance and promptly file claims for loss, damage or delays with your mover.
Check out SmartMove’s comprehensive list of best practices to keep in mind when hiring a moving company.
2. Update Your Address in Advance
One of the primary ways that identity theft occurs during a move is through unforwarded mail. Most people don’t update their address until they’ve already settled into their new home. This leaves room for mail scam artists to access your personal information and financial accounts through a variety of ways. We strongly recommend updating your address well in advance of your move.
For a detailed summary on how to avoid major mail drama, check out SmartMove’s post on updating your mailing address on time.
USPS allows you to change your address up to 90 days in advance of your move and select the exact date you would like it to take effect. Avoid one of the most commonly experienced moving fraud by tackling this task properly and on time.
3. Contact Financial Institutions Before Your Move
This item is typically a task that most people put off until a few weeks after they move. However, contacting your financial institutions such as loan servicing companies, banks, credit card companies and insurance providers is a crucial precaution in avoiding identity theft and credit card fraud. Contact your financial institutions at least 2 weeks before moving and provide your new address and when it will be in effect. This will avoid your sensitive financial documents falling into the wrong hands. As an extra precaution, leave a few self-addressed envelopes at your old house so the new occupants can forward any mail they receive easily.
Moving is a pivotal chapter in life where we should be celebrating new beginnings and experiences, not worrying about moving scams and fraud! Following these easy steps will significantly lower your chances of becoming a victim of fraud during a move. While it may add a few extra tasks to your growing moving checklist, it’s well worth the effort in the long run.