A mover stole jewelry? 3 tips to protect your valuables when moving

A mover stole jewelry? 3 tips to protect your valuables when moving

When you hire a reputable moving company, you don’t expect to have your valuables stolen.

But that's what prosecutors say happened to two Chicago families recently when a moving company employee allegedly made off with tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry and valuables from jobs in the Bridgeport and North Center neighborhoods, according to DNAinfo Chicago.

Unless you previously hired a particular moving company with the exact same crew, it’s nearly impossible to know that who shows up to your door will be trustworthy.

However, we asked a highly rated moving company for a few steps you can take in hiring a moving company to help protect yourself from having valuables stolen. Here's what they told us:

Know your movers

If you find a moving company you like, use them repeatedly. The moving industry is one that suffers from a high turn-over rate among employees. This can lead to quick hiring decisions of unscrupulous characters even at companies with top-notch reputations.

Dersu Burrows, operations manager with highly rated Burrows Moving Co. in Chicago, says his company conducts criminal background checks on potential employees, but that is no guarantee against theft.

"I really put a lot of trust in my guys that have been with me for years on the trucks,” Burrows says. “They can usually tell if something is not quite right with a guy. If they do, they’ll notify me right away."

Do your research

Burrows, says it’s essential to conduct as many background checks on potential moving companies before hiring one. Beyond checking the company is licensed with the state of Illinois, if the moving company you're considering hiring isn't rated on Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau, Burrows suggests contacting the Illinois Movers and Warehouseman’s Association.

"The [movers association] is really on top of things in Illinois,” Burrows said. “They maintain complaint records on all movers in Illinois."

If your move involves crossing state lines, you can also check a mover's federal registration and insurance, as well as complaint history, at the U.S. Department of Transportation site, ProtectYourMove.gov

Move it yourself

It might seem like common sense, but Burrows says avoid temptation by moving valuable items yourself and keeping them out of sight during a move. If there’s no other option, one simple trick can protect your valuables.

"Just don’t leave your jewelry or Rolex watch laying around," Burrows says. "If you have a heavy box of jewelry that you can’t move yourself, don’t label it as jewelry. Label it something boring."