So we decided to flee Indiana.
For background, my name is Alexis, I'm a nonbinary trans person, married to my trans husband Ian, and we have 2 kids, Felix, aged 12, and Zinnia age 9. Indiana is currently attempting the "Florida Speedrun" insofar as it pertains to persecuting us trans people as "groomers", so my spouse and I decided it was time to get out.
I was originally born near Buffalo NY and still have a lot of family in the area, so it seemed a logical choice, especially with how close it is to Canada in case shit gets really bad on a federal level. I went job hunting, and found a pretty good job in my field up in the city. When we went to sell our house things seemed to be moving swiftly, we had a buyer who wanted to take possession at closing on October 20th so we had to get our stuff out quickly.
I was already up here in Buffalo, staying with one of my aunts and working my new job, so my husband Ian began the work of shopping around for a mover. Normally we would just move ourselves with a Uhaul but with the buyer wanting to take possession right away and me being out of state we decided to hire a moving service. After looking around a bit Ian sent out an inquiry to a place called Extra Space Moving and Storage (this name is important)
He received a call back and booked them for the 17th, they had us pay 1600$ as a deposit and estimated that it would be a total of about 4,000$ for moving everything. We thought that was a great deal. We were wrong.
A couple weeks later Ian got another call from ESMS (gonna abbreviate it from now on) to get a more firm grip on everything we had to move. He spoke with the rep for an hour, and was told "oh you have a lot more stuff than initially expected, it's gonna be 7K, not 4."
Ian asked if we could cancel and was told we'd forfeit our deposit if so, so we decided to bite the bullet since that was more like the price we expected anyways.
When moving day arrived the movers showed up with a truck that was already half full, then started loading. About half way through they left with that truck and came back with another half full truck (I now suspect it was the same one and they dumped our stuff off at a storage area in Indiana nearby)
Once everything was loaded the mover on site changed the total again and told my husband it was now going to be SIXTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to move everything and that 6,300$ was due right then. My husband was panicked and didn't know what to do, he wrote them a check for 6,300 and then called me crying. After they left he looked at the invoice he had signed and it didn't say Extra Space Moving and Storage, it said Lucrative Van Lines. He found that odd and looked the name up, only to find a Facebook group of people who'd been scammed and had their stuff stolen and thousands of dollars extorted to get it back, only to either never receive it or to get back only things that couldn't be sold or pawned off, all of which were battered and damaged.
We decided to cancel the 6,300$ check and I called the customer service number we'd been given to try and figure out what was going on. I left a message and didn't receive a call back. During his investigation, Ian realized that the reason he'd been tricked was that Extra Space Storage is a legitimate company but Extra Space MOVING and Storage is not. These thieves constantly create LLCs that sound like legitimate moving companies, only to change names and create a new shell company when the heat gets too high for them.
There's a lot more I can't get into right now, but suffice to say that the guy running the Facebook group of people who have been scammed by these assholes got us the contact information for the FBI agent who is in charge of investigating these crooks and we have been working with him on bringing them to justice. Meanwhile, we are trying to get homeowners insurance to help us recoup the value of what we lost, but that won't bring back my kids baby pictures. Or the short stories I wrote in high school. Or my wedding photos. Or Ian's grandmother's antique dresser that is impossible to find. Or the paintings a friend made for us. Or my huge collection of books, some of which are now out of print. You get the idea.
How someone can load up a child's toys and bike in front of her, knowing that he is going to take them away and she'll never see them again, I will never understand.
If you're planning on moving, and you are thinking about using a mover, please, for the love of whatever God you hold to, check into them very deeply, take a LOT of time, don't just Google and think you're good. I've been with my husband for 22 years, and now 22 years of our life is just... gone. I don't want that to happen to anyone else.
On a final note, I have put up a GoFundMe to try and help us recoup some of what we've lost. As I said in the diary above, we're working on a homeowners insurance claim but it's gonna drag out, they're putting us with their "special investigation unit" and taking their sweet time with it. We have been renting a furnished apartment (really an AirBnB) since this happened as otherwise we'd literally have an empty house, the only things that they didn't take were a couple old hutches, some minor miscellany, and the kids beds (guess they didn't think those were worth stealing and selling). It's expensive as all get out to rent furnished but we don't have a choice. Our buyer on our house wound up backing out (so we DIDN'T even have to rush it turns out, yay) and we just finally got another buyer and closed right before Thanksgiving. The house we're buying up here needs repairs before FHA will approve the loan, so we're still a few weeks out from closing on it, but when we do we'll be moving pretty much nothing into this house. We'll need furniture, housewares, tools, the kids will want their toys replaced etc and while we may get something from insurance eventually, that won't help right now. If you're willing to assist us, I'd really appreciate it. Link Below, and again, if you're going to move, please please please do more research than we did, it could save you tremendous heartbreak.