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Using a Relocation Provider to Avoid Moving Scams and Cybersecurity Risks

Ricardo Ramos, Brand Manager at Allied Van Lines - Jun 23 2022
Published in: Mobility
Corporate relocation professionals play a critical role in fighting fraud

Keeping your employees safe is a top priority. So, when you’re coordinating a corporate move, it’s crucial to ensure an employee gets through the process smoothly and safely. With relocation costs rising dramatically there is pressure to find economies in every stage. Unfortunately, when working with an unknown moving company, your employees are at a higher risk of falling victim to rising scams or identity theft. 

Here are some potential risks associated with a move, and how partnering with an established corporate moving partner can help you provide a positive and safe relocation experience.


The Risk of Moving Scams

More than $730,000 lost moving scams was reported to the Better Business Bureau in 2021, a 216% increase over the year prior. But it is estimated that fewer than 10% of victims ever report fraud to the BBB or law enforcement. Moving scams take many forms. Scammers may request a deposit from movers, but either never show up to provide the service or request a higher price than initially quoted. A fraudulent moving company may also pick up your items but refuse to deliver them unless they are paid a significant amount of money not disclosed in the initial quote. This has been termed a “hostage load,” and it’s a phenomenon that’s been gaining steam within the lucrative world of moving scams.

In one case, a woman hired a moving company for a negotiated fee and time. When the moving company showed up four days later than expected without notice, they gave her a higher estimate than she was originally quoted and was asked to pay half the fees upfront. She then headed to her new home with the promise that her items would be delivered within two weeks. Four months later, her items are nowhere to be found.

In the first eight months of 2021 alone, there were 932 reports of this type of scam to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Scammers often target individuals who are looking to move as cheaply as possible and people who have no moving experience.


The Risk of Identity Fraud

From requesting a moving quote to changing your address to applying for utilities, every aspect of a move typically requires an individual to share their personal information online. Every time their PI is shared on the internet, the employee’s risk of identity fraud climbs up. Identity thieves can get their hands on this treasure trove of information through hacking or purchasing it from data brokers.

One way for employees to reduce the risk of fraud is by tracking all of the sensitive mail they receive and ensuring banks, insurance companies, and other businesses have their new address in plenty of time to make the change. Employees can further reduce their risk of fraud by switching to electronic correspondence and billing.

Companies must ensure they’re educating their employees on these risks and assisting them in avoiding these issues. If an organization regularly has employees moving, instituting policies and tools that protect this data is essential.


Avoid the Risks by Partnering with a Trusted Moving Provider

Partnering with an established, trusted corporate moving partner can help alleviate concerns about scams and security risks by ensuring that relocating employees are cared for by qualified professionals throughout the moving process. If your company doesn’t have a corporate moving partner, employees who are in the relocation process are much more vulnerable to falling prey to these risks.

“Unfortunately, many people are not familiar with what they need to look for in a trusted moving company, so they are more likely to fall victim to scams,” said Steven McKenna, vice president of Allied Van Lines. “Even if individuals aren’t getting caught in full-on schemes, they may end up trusting their personal belongings to a moving company that isn’t insured, doesn’t provide trained and highly skilled crewmembers, or hits the customer with unexpected charges. In cases where your organization is sponsoring the move, it’s crucial that you take the extra step to connect employees with a moving company that you can fully place your trust in and adheres to your policies.”

Employing a reputable, pre-selected relocation partner can help minimize the amount of information your employees give out by providing them with a knowledgeable team that can guide them on when and where to share personal info. Additionally, having a trusted moving service completely negates the opportunity for employees to unintentionally fall for a moving scam.

In a Consumer Affairs review, Debbie of South Carolina describes how she avoided moving scams by doing her research on trusted providers:

“We researched most of the big interstate moving companies prior to selecting Allied. The horror stories from many reviews of other companies were frightening. Allied provided an in-home guaranteed quote. They were flexible on dates and when moving day arrived the crew was on time and prepared. The move went like clockwork and we were well taken care of.”

Taking care of your employee’s safety and well-being, especially during a move, is a top priority for organizations. Partnering with a qualified, trustworthy corporate moving provider is an effective way to do just that while benefiting your organization as well.

Ricardo Ramos Seyffert is the head of marketing for Allied Van Lines’ corporate relocation division. Allied has one of the largest global moving company networks, with the experience and efficiency to support your corporate relocation programs.