Hot housing market has America on the move – and scammers, too

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(WIVB) – The housing market is hot, Americans are on the move, and it seems moving scams are heating up, too.

A Connecticut woman felt she was getting burned in her move to the Northtowns, so she called Call 4 Action.

Natalia Eden made all the right moves, once she realized her move to Western New York might going south.

She came here temporarily for work, and decided to stay.

Eden has a sparsely appointed apartment, but she had even fewer belongings until the moving van arrived over the weekend.

“I had clothes, I had my dog beds and I had some pots and pans and dishes, and that was it,” she said.

Eden went online and got an estimate from a mover that turned out to be broker who contracts out the actual labor.

That wasn’t a problem until her stuff didn’t show up when it was supposed to.

“I tried to call them and they would not answer my calls, and then I was confused because I did not know who I should call, the first company or the company that actually showed up,” Eden said.

When Eden tried to get information from the moving company, based in New Jersey, all she got was static.

At that point, she called local police, and then she called the police department where the moving company is located.

“The police who went out to talk to her later called me and said that he had arrested her in the past, and that she has a criminal record,” Eden said.

Even though it only took three weeks for Eden to get her belongings, other moving company customers have waited months, or don’t get their property at all.

It is a rare occasion that law enforcement even gets involved, as they did when federal authorities busted a ring of moving scammers, two years ago.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 2021 is on track to become  second only to 2018 for number of complaints against moving companies.

Melanie McGovern of the Better Business Bureau says you have to be thorough when hiring a mover.

“Especially with the moving brokers, because again, they are just giving your job to another person on your behalf,” McGovern said. “So you want to make sure you know what the company is that is getting your job, that is showing up at your house and taking all of your belongings.”

But when it came time for her belongings to get here, the movers were nowhere to be found.

The BBB has a list of accredited moving companies that are licensed and approved by state and government regulators.

The U.S. Department of Transportation keeps track of the complaints they receive against moving companies.

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