The Oregon Department of Transportation partnered with Washington County Sheriff's deputies on an undercover enforcement operation targeting uninsured and/or unlicensed moving operators. ODOT officials say these companies often advertise on online bulletin boards, such as Craigslist, offering to help move people for a fee. Many consumers don't realize the companies don't have legal operating authority - or insurance - and they often don't have safe vehicles or drivers.

In Thursday's sting, ODOT staff and deputies met 7 movers at a decoy home in Beaverton, checking drivers and equipment . They found 32 violations and issued 24 citations to the companies. None of the companies was properly certified with ODOT. Four of the moving trucks were not registered with the US Department of Transportation. Two of the drivers were driving with suspended licenses.

Moving is a regulated industry in Oregon. Any company or person offering to move household goods must be certified by ODOT. Certified movers are trained to follow industry standards for loading, moving and unloading property, and are required to charge approved, reasonable rates. In addition, they must carry liability and property damage insurance, and their vehicles must meet federal safety standards.

Consumers who hire an unlicensed mover may be charged higher than normal fees, with little or no recourse for loss or damage to their property. They may also be at higher risk for property or identity theft.

To protect yourself during your next move, hire a certified moving company. You can find a list of state-certified movers and more tips at