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  • Fraud Moving Companies

    I encountered a new situation a week ago that I have not had to experience in 25 years in storage.

    I had a lady call me asking about a unit at my facility. She had hired a company to move their belongings from Iowa to Alabama. The person who picked up their belongings rented a storage unit at my facility and placed the items in it.

    She tells me a long story about how they have been trying to get their belongings for months and they just keep getting the run around. Finally someone had told them their belongings were at my facility in unit xyz. I tell her that since her name isn't on the unit that I can't tell her anything.

    But at the time I also believe her story. I told her I would reach out to the tenant to see what I could learn.

    He didn't answer when I called, texted me back asking who it was, which I gave my name and business, he then tells me wrong number. I responded with ok then I will have to report the delinquent balance on this account in your name to the credit reporting agencies.

    Then I got a whole different answer. He gave me the name of the person who had called me, and said they will contact me about getting their stuff. I said it doesn't work that way the unit is in your name not theirs. He then tried to pawn me off to a different email address than he used on his account for answers. I told him I can only talk to the primary person on the account.

    I called back the person I had talked to confirmed their belongings may be at my facility, told them about my conversation. I explained the unit will enter the lien process for public sale soon if the tenant doesn't work with us. And when it does I will make sure they have the chance to win the auction.

    I then reached out again requesting that the tenant transfer the unit over to the proper owner of the property. I told him all I need is a digital signature on a form I can send to the email on file and we can get it taken care of. He again gives me a different email address, which I say won't work.

    I send the form to the email on file. Then go out of town for the weekend (went to see Michael Franti at Red Rocks was a great time) they call me and I give them an update saying they haven't signed the form yet. They are anxious and book plane tickets to Iowa anyway.

    They call me this morning saying they are here, and I say I don't have the form yet. There is nothing I can do. So I reach out to the tenant again, and try again to get him to sign it. I send it out again and he finally signs it.

    I meet the people have them sign a rental agreement, and cut off the lock. When we open the door, the key was under the bottom seal. The moving paperwork was right inside the door.

    It is clear this was a scam company they never intended on delivering the items. They used a name World Class Movers, MovingwithAlied.com. I assume pretending to be affiliated with Allied Van Lines..

    Is this a bigger problem in larger markets? Is there something you would of done differently? Would you have broken your privacy, and rental rules to help these people out, if the tenant didn't respond?

    I am very happy it worked out with a paper trail to protect myself and my business. At the same time I knew this couple had already been scammed for thousands of dollars by this company. I felt bad and wanted to do anything I could to help.

    What is the best way to report these kinds of actions? Is there something I can do to help this couple get recourse for all their troubles? This is one of my first issues with having no contact online rentals.


  • #2
    How was it that you thought you had the ladies items but that it was in this other person's name?

    It is so similar to when move out companies for evictions come to store.
    When that company is being honest, they will come in with the owner of the belongings and do the rental in their person's name but the eviction people pay.

    You did the right thing and I probably would have attempted to do what you did!
    Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

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    • #3
      Because so many people are moving to different states right now, there are TONS of scams going on with moving companies. I'm in a FB group for people moving to TX from CA (my plan later this year ) and SOOOOO many people are being scammed...even by once-legit companies. It's disgusting how they can hold your goods hostage because of their greed.
      MamaDuke

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      • #4
        I think I would do just what you did, has never happened, but I think you absolutely did it correctly. And if something like that happens, I will come back to this post. Glad you had a good time seeing Michael Franti!!

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        • #5
          I actually had this happen a few months ago. Moving company came, rented a unit, put the stuff inside, gave me HIS info but did leave a name on the emergency contact. Time comes we're about to do lock cuts and tenant never answers or replies to emails. Last ditch effort, I call the emergency contact. Low-and-behold it is the owner of the property and he's been wondering where his stuff was this whole time!! I finally get in touch with the company number the tenant works for (it's him by the way go figure) and arrange for him to relinquish the unit via email. That never happens. I tell property owner to try to contact tenant to get website info so he can log into the account and update the email address on file. So that's how we were finally able to get everything done. The email address was updated and wouldn't ya know, when I sent the release that time, it was returned with a signature of tenant. I then had property owner come in to finish paperwork and the unit is now in his name and he can access his property.

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          • #6
            Wow! I've heard about this scam but haven't run into it-yet.
            "The comeback is always stronger than the setback."
            Mom, Navy Vet, genealogist and voracious reader
            WA state

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            • #7
              That's why I don't deal with moving companies. I tell them I deal only with the actual owner of the property.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by twotoejoe View Post
                That's why I don't deal with moving companies. I tell them I deal only with the actual owner of the property.
                Good policy!
                "The comeback is always stronger than the setback."
                Mom, Navy Vet, genealogist and voracious reader
                WA state

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                • #9
                  Holy cats-I actually am wondering if I've just had this happen! I had a mover come in (small independent local type) and rent a unit for his business. I assumed he was putting in moving stuff, blankets etc. as he asked about parking his moving trucks here, however they were moving in household stuff.
                  I guess we'll see!
                  "The comeback is always stronger than the setback."
                  Mom, Navy Vet, genealogist and voracious reader
                  WA state

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                  • #10
                    Maybe we should add the following when sizing up want-to-be tenants.

                    Of course we should all be asking WHAT are you storing?
                    Maybe we should also ask.....IS IT YOUR PERSONAL BELONGINGS OR SOMEONE ELSE'S????
                    If they ARE honest, we could shut the rental down before it get's started???
                    Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.

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                    • #11
                      I wish my online rental system allowed the inclusion of more information during the process of renting a unit.

                      It is clear people don't read the rental agreements. So I don't think including more documents will make it more likely that they will read it. StorEdge has told me they have been working on a new version of the rental center for about 2 years now. Which would allow more information added in regards to insurance and due dates. I have no idea when that will actually come to fruition.

                      This of course is the downside to only doing online rentals, though if this is the extent of my issues with it in a year, I think all the other time savings would of been worth it.

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                      • #12
                        Like a few others mentioned, I think we all have one more question to ask new tenants, is this your stuff or someone else's? Then again they would probably just lie. Tough spot to be in.

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                        • #13
                          I had a phone call a few weeks ago from a guy who said his "moving company" told him his belongings were at my facility. They told him they rented a unit with me on a specific date and that he could come here to get his stuff. I told him I had no record of the company renting here and that I have no move-ins on the day he was told. I didn't even have any in the couple of days before or after that date. I felt so bad for the guy because he just kept saying "it's fraud, I know it's fraud". Even if his stuff was here, there's nothing I could about it.
                          Too many freaks, not enough circuses.

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                          • #14
                            I had a guy rent a unit, a moving van came in and unloaded household goods into the unit. Fast forward about a week and I have a lady here with obvious mental deficits. She had the code and key to the unit and was wandering around our property being bizarre. I called the "tenant" who had signed the contract and he was a local con man mover as we later learned. The legitimate movers in the area were trying to get his license revoked and get him shut down, he was that bad.

                            Long story short, he got read the riot act, and was banned from our property. We went through hell but finally got him to release the unit to the lady's parents who were her legal guardians. They didn't even know the con man gave their daughter a key to the unit and the code.
                            Gina 6k
                            twitter.com/GinaSixKudo
                            VM: Four-Oh-Eight- Seven-Eight-Oh-Eight-Oh-Seven-Nine
                            [email protected]



                            You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
                            I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gina6k View Post
                              i had a guy rent a unit, a moving van came in and unloaded household goods into the unit. Fast forward about a week and i have a lady here with obvious mental deficits. She had the code and key to the unit and was wandering around our property being bizarre. I called the "tenant" who had signed the contract and he was a local con man mover as we later learned. The legitimate movers in the area were trying to get his license revoked and get him shut down, he was that bad.

                              Long story short, he got read the riot act, and was banned from our property. We went through hell but finally got him to release the unit to the lady's parents who were her legal guardians. They didn't even know the con man gave their daughter a key to the unit and the code.
                              wow.
                              "The comeback is always stronger than the setback."
                              Mom, Navy Vet, genealogist and voracious reader
                              WA state

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