This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

May is National Moving Month and the start of the busiest time of year for movers. According to My Moving Reviews, in 2016 just over 60% of all residential moves were made during the months of May through September. During those months, the busiest day for moving was Friday. Annually 11% of Americans are on the move, generating $85.7 billion. Scammers, too, are aware of this very lucrative market and are constantly looking for ways to exploit unsuspecting movers.

Rising costs plus the coordination effort required makes moving stressful enough without adding the threat of possible scams. To help avoid some of the headaches associated with moving, here are some tips to help reduce moving costs as well as avoid potential scams. In addition to researching the moving company beforehand at bbb.org and getting at least three estimates from different movers, consider the following:

  1. Unload what you don’t need. The weight of the load is a large determining factor in the price of the move, so make sure that you are only taking things that you want, or that will fit in your new space. Nobody wants to pay for things they won’t be able to use.
  2. Time it right. Moving in the middle of the month is the least expensive time to move as movers are busiest in the beginning and end of the month as that is when leases are up.
  3. Save on Boxes. Purchasing used and recycled boxes and pack small items yourself to reduce the amount of time the movers will have to spend packing.
  4. Plan and Organize. Snap pictures of your new home and draw on them so the movers will know in advance where to put your items.
  5. Cover your items. A benefit to using professional movers is that you can insure items. While this may cost extra, it will be well worth it in the long run if anything breaks.  Before purchasing coverage from the movers, check and see if your items are covered under your homeowners insurance.
  6. Snag a tax break. If you are moving due to a job change, you may be able to save money on some moving expenses. To see if you qualify check the IRS website or consult a tax expert. Source:MSN Money

How to Spot a Moving Scam

  • Does the mover refuse to make a house call for an estimate? Walk away.
  • Does the mover offer a much lower estimate than other companies? Be very skeptical of this offer.
  • Does the mover pick up your possessions and then increase the price? Insist on getting a written quote before the move takes place and pay by credit card if possible. This will allow you to dispute an overcharge that you did not approve.
  • Does the mover ask or attempt to force you to sign a blank or incomplete document before they will deliver the shipment? Don’t sign it! You may be authorizing additional charges for the move, without having an opportunity to review the charges. Make sure to get a completed, written contract describing all the terms and charges related to the move. Source: BBB North AlabamaAmerican Moving & Storage Association (AMSA)

For more details on moving trends, tips, and scams visit Moving Trends 2016: Annual Moving Industry Snapshot, National Moving Month Kicks off Busy Summer Season for Americans across the Country , and MSN Money.

If you would like to report a scam, call your BBB at 256-533-1640 or go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.