ST. CLOUD -- Most people only move a few times in their lives, so hiring a moving company may be an unfamiliar process, leaving you vulnerable to scams.

The Better Business Bureau receives an average of 13,000 complaints about movers each year, with many complaints describing fraudulent moving companies charged above and beyond the quoted amount.

Bao Vang is the Communications Director with the BBB. She says scammers are preying on people's vulnerability right now and it's important to do careful research.

While the vast majority of movers care about reputation and costumer services not all of them do. Try to get at least three estimates based on weight, not cubic feet, and opt for full value replacement liability insurance.

She says with many complaints once belongings are on the truck, they are often held hostage for more money, your items are damaged or they arrive at your new home late or not at all.

Vang says as your doing your research and talking with moving companies it's important to ask if they are a broker.

Now we know brokers are an option for moving companies. We should know now to ask about whether there is a broker, a middle man, in getting your items from point A to point B.

Vang says broker websites will look professional with rave reviews, however once hired, the company hires a third party of unskilled help to load and unload your belonging.

If you have been a victim of a moving scam Vang says to file a police report, file a complaint with the BBB and U.S Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and to contact the organization MoveRescue to help locate and deliver your missing/stolen goods.

Last year an estimated 4.7 million people moved in the United States.

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