Find tips and resources on how to hire movers for domestic and international moves, avoid moving fraud and report scam movers. Also, learn how to change your mailing address and utility services to your new home.
While most moving companies are reputable businesses that do quality work, some companies use fraudulent practices. They may:
- Demand cash upfront before the move
- Avoid giving you a written estimate
- Ask you to sign a blank contract in advance
- Only have one cell phone number as a contact and no local physical address
- Show up to your house with a rental truck with no company logo on it
- Give you a quote over the phone without any onsite inspection of your goods
- Give you a low price and change the estimate substantially at your destination
- Hold your belongings hostage until you pay more money
Report Moving Scams
- If you have a dispute with a moving company and you can’t resolve it, you can pursue arbitration or legal action.
- If you have been the victim of moving fraud and the move was across state lines, learn how to file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- If you have a complaint involving an intrastate move (a move within the boundaries of a state), contact your state or local regulatory authority.
- File a report using the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker.
How to Hire a Mover and Protect Yourself
Get tools from Protect Your Move to help you protect yourself against moving fraud. Keep these tips in mind to avoid moving scams:
- Get a company representative to come to your home for a realistic estimate of the move.
- Get a written estimate from several movers. In general, estimates are based on time, the number of movers needed, who does the packing, and the number of rooms to be moved.
- Verify that the company is insured in case your goods are damaged during the move.
- Ask for the company’s U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number and use the FMCSA database to check if the company is registered.
- Reach out to your local, county, or state consumer affairs agency or state attorney general to see if there is a complaint record.
- Don’t accept an estimate over the phone.
- Don’t sign a blank contract.
- Don’t pay for the move in advance or in cash.
- Don’t let movers start packing your goods into the truck without reviewing the contract and estimate again before the move starts.
Get tips and resources about moving to another country:
- Overseas moving estimates are based in part on how much space (cubic volume) your household goods occupy in a shipping container.
- Learn about any customs and import regulations of the country you are relocating to by contacting the embassy or consulate of the country.
- Before selecting a mover, check to be sure the company has a Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) number, which all legitimate international movers will have.
- You can file a complaint with the Federal Maritime Commission’s Office of Consumer Affairs & Dispute Resolution Services (CADRS).
- Learn more about international moves and how to protect yourself and your household belongings. (PDF, Download Adobe Reader)
Are you moving or want to rent a post office box? Learn the steps to change your address to continue receiving mail or reserve a box at your local post office.
How to Change Your Address with the Postal Service
To let the post office know you are going to change your address and want your mail forwarded to your new location, you have two options:
- Go to USPS.com/move to change your address online.
- This is the fastest and easiest way, and you immediately get an email confirming the change.
- There is a $1 charge to change your address online. You will need a credit or debit card and a valid email address. The $1 charge to your card is an identity verification fee to prevent fraud and make sure you’re the one making the change.
- Warning: You don’t need to pay a separate company to change your address. Scammers may charge $40 or more to do what you can do for just $1 using the moving section of the official USPS.com website.
- Go to your local post office and request a Mover’s Guide packet.
- Inside the packet is PS Form 3575. Fill out this change of address form and give it to a postal worker behind the counter or drop it into the letter mail slot inside the post office.
- You should receive a confirmation letter at your new address in five business days.
How to Temporarily Change Your Mailing Address or Hold Your Mail at a Post Office
- You can ask your local post office to temporarily change your address.
- Your local post office may be able to hold your mail for a short period of time, such as during a vacation, but the service is not available at all post offices.
How to Change or Cancel Your Request
If you want to cancel or make any changes to your change of address request, you will need your confirmation number. Find that number on the letter or email you received when you made the initial request. View, update or cancel your request online.
Change Your Address with Other Government Agencies
Other federal and state agencies to contact when changing your address include:
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – Contact the IRS to change your address if you are expecting a tax refund or other mail. You can also change your address with the IRS by writing your new address in the appropriate boxes on your tax return when you file.
- Social Security Administration (SSA) – Change your address online using your my Social Security account if you receive Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits or are enrolled in Medicare. If you don’t receive Social Security benefits or Medicare or you want to change your address by phone or in person, contact the SSA.
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Contact the VA if you are a veteran who receives benefit payments or you want to update your records.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – Contact USCIS within 10 days of a move if you are a non-U.S. citizen who is required to register your address.
- State Motor Vehicle Agencies – Contact your state to change your address on your driver’s license or motor vehicle registration.
- State Election Offices – Contact your state election office to change your address on your voter registration record and to be assigned a new polling place if you’ve moved outside the boundaries of your current one.
How to Rent or Renew a Post Office Box
When moving into a house or an apartment, you may have to pay for utility services like gas, electricity or water. You can apply for these services on the phone, online, or in person.
Starting Utility Services
Your city or county government may handle some utility services like water, sewage, and garbage collection. In many states, you can choose your telephone and energy service providers. Contact your state utility commission for a list of service providers and advice on making a choice.
- Letter of guarantee: If you are a new utility customer or have a poor payment history, the utility company may require you to pay a deposit or get a letter from someone who agrees to pay your bill if you don’t.
Switching Utility Providers
Your state’s public utilities company may allow you to “unbundle” your electric (or gas) service, so you can purchase the utilities from one company and the delivery of them from another. For more information on switching utility providers, contact your state’s public utilities commission.
Once you have established service, you should start receiving your bills at regular intervals, usually monthly or quarterly. Utility bills are based on the amount of energy or water you actually use. However, if you live in an apartment complex, the amount you pay for some utilities may be prorated or split. Contact the service provider if you see charges you do not understand or didn’t authorize on your bill.
To Lower Your Utility Costs:
- Explore energy-saving tips and strategies from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Apply for help from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) if you have difficulty paying your bills. The benefits vary from state to state.
File a Complaint
File a complaint with the company If your utility company fails to meet its service requirements. Contact your state’s utility commission If that does not work.