News Coverage

JK Moving Tips Protect Consumers from Scams such as Hostage Hauls

STERLING, Va. (June 7, 2023) – Spring and summer means more people are preparing to move and that means more people are at risk of getting scammed by rogue movers or other deceptive brokers. To help avoid scammers, JK Moving Services, the nation’s largest independently owned moving and storage company, has a list of tips to help ensure a better move experience.

“The internet is a great research tool for moving, but it is also a magnet for unscrupulous brokers and movers. We often hear the nightmarish stories about consumers getting scammed out of money or their furniture being held hostage by these fake brokers and movers,” explained David Cox, President, JK Moving Services. “That’s why it is imperative for people to do their due diligence before hiring a mover. Moves are stressful enough without getting cheated.”

One of the most common moving scams is the “no-show” in which moving companies, or scammers posing as such, charge an upfront deposit and then fail to appear on the scheduled move day. There are also instances of fake movers who do show up, load up a customer’s possessions, and then demand an exorbitant ransom for their return. Another red flag is what methods of payment are accepted. Many unscrupulous brokers push for irreversible deposits via bank-to-bank transfers or popular money transfer apps.

To avoid unnecessary stress and the potential loss of significant time and money, follow these guidelines to avoid scams:

1. Pick Well

There are countless residential moving companies to choose from, but not all are reputable. Begin your search by ensuring each mover on your list is an ATA-certified ProMover. Long-distance movers should be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and have a U.S. DOT number.

2. Beware of Brokers

Be wary of internet “brokers” who promise unusually low prices. These brokers are not movers and do not have staff, trucks, facilities, or systems. The unfortunate result of contracting with a company of this type is lost money as well as potentially stolen or destroyed property that may be priceless to you.

3. Get Estimates

Start early and get three estimates. Some movers like JK Moving have AI technology that enables very accurate real-time, virtual surveys of goods. AI-driven tools recognize rooms, furniture, and appliances as well as their cube and weights, ensuring more accurate estimates. If a mover doesn’t have a virtual option, then request an in-home estimate from a trained moved consultant.

4. Evaluate Estimates

Be aware of the conditions and risks of different types of estimates:

  • A binding estimate obligates you to pay the price quoted.
  • A non-binding estimate bills you for the final weight of your shipped goods.
  • A not-to-exceed estimate lets you pay the estimated price or the actual cost, whichever is lower, and must be provided by the carrier in writing.

5. Rank Referrals Over Reviews

Fake customer reviews are a sad reality for consumers today, no matter the industry. Phony online reviews promise to save customers money, luring them to professionally crafted websites that continue the con. The increasing use of AI bots to create realistic reviews is only adding to customers’ inability to vet what they read online. Instead of relying on reviews, ask for customer references you can check. A reputable residential moving company should be able to provide them on the spot. Also, seek out recommendations or referrals from your own trusted network.

6. Know Your Rights

Federal law requires movers to give you a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” prior to an interstate move, which is published by FMCSA. The agency’s regulations help protect consumers who are making an interstate move.

Find more ways on how to protect yourself from moving scams


For nearly 40 years, JK Moving Services – the largest independently owned and operated moving company in North America – has provided local, long-distance, and global relocation services to a variety of commercial, residential, and government clients. Headquartered in Sterling, Virginia, and voted Independent Mover of the Year by the American Trucking Association, the company maintains a full-time, professionally trained staff of relocation and move management experts committed to providing the highest level of customer care.