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.
How to Hire Movers and Avoid Moving Fraud
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
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:
Are you moving or want to rent a post office box? Learn how 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.
Find more information and a list of frequently asked questions on how to change your address.
How to Temporarily Change Your Mailing Address or Hold Your Mail at a Post Office
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
Learn the steps to reserve or renew and pay online for a post office box.
How to File a Complaint About a Post Office
Learn how to file a complaint with the U.S. Postal Service.
When moving into a house or an apartment, you may have to pay for utility services like gas, electricity or water.
Starting Utility Services
Your local government may provide 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. If you are a new utility customer or have a poor payment history, the utility company may require:
- A security deposit
- Letter of guarantee from someone who agrees to pay your bill if you don’t.
Switching Utility Providers
Your state's public utilities commission may allow you to "unbundle" your utility service. This allows you to buy the utilities from one company and the delivery of them from another company. For more information on switching utility providers, contact your state's public utilities commission.
You should receive your bills at regular intervals, usually monthly or quarterly. Utility bills depend on the amount of energy or water you actually use. But if you live in an apartment, the amount you pay for some utilities may be calculated using a formula instead. Contact the service provider if you see charges you do not understand or didn't authorize on your bill.
To Lower Your Utility Costs:
File a Complaint
File a complaint with the utility company if it doesn't meet its service requirements. Contact your state's utility commission if that does not work.
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Last Updated: April 11, 2019