SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The Santa Clara County DA’s office says it’s received hundreds of complaints about moving companies that advertise on the Internet and allegedly defraud customers out of thousands of dollars by essentially holding their stuff hostage.

KCBS’ Betsy Gebhart Reports:

Santa Clara County Deputy DA Ken Rosenblatt says victims have found moving companies on the Internet that give a very low price to pick up their belongings, but then heap on fraudulent charges to drop those things off elsewhere.

”Often these moves took place from the Silicon Valley to somewhere else in the country,” said Rosenblatt. “So consumers who are moving to say, North Carolina, would only find out after they’ve left, and are waiting for the goods, that they aren’t going to get those goods without paying several thousand dollars more.”

Rosenblatt said five people from three little-known moving companies have been arrested so far, while others are being sought. He said that the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to not hire moving companies sight-unseen over the Internet. It’s safer to make sure reputable companies come to your house, look your stuff over and give you a detailed, written estimate.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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