The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is continuing with recent efforts to educate the public when it comes to unscrupulous household goods movers.

“Protect Your Move” seeks to give the nearly 35 million Americans who move each year on how to spot the “red flags” of fraudulent or dishonest operations. 

FMCSA has produced a new public service announcement warning consumers of the “red flags” they can spot prior to a move. It says by visiting consumers can view the video, and find tools and resources to help them before, during and after a move.

Resources include a moving fraud prevention checklist, a moving broker checklist and tips for a successful move. Consumers can also search a company's complaint history and compare safety records of companies nationally. 

“Consumers need to know how to spot the bad movers and feel confident they are selecting a reliable, safe, and responsible moving company,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. “While the majority of movers are reputable, consumers need to be aware of how to avoid those who are not.” 

More than 5,800 household goods moving companies are registered with FMCSA. In 2012, the agency says it received more than 3,100 consumer complaints about household goods movers, up from 2,851 in 2011. Among the most common complaints are shipments being held hostage; loss, damage or delay of shipments; unauthorized movers; and deceptive practices, such as overcharges. 

This follows the agency late last year ordering a California moving company to return belongings to customers and issued a final rule nearly a year ago that it says would protect consumers better when moving across state lines.