Business owners who deal with logistics, transit, and transportation are all too aware of the feeling when they are informed of a cargo loss. There are many scenarios in which this can happen and it's important to know how to prevent this as best you can. In order to keep you aware of current tactics used by thieves our partners at Travelers Insurance Company have put together some information that can keep your business protected.
1. Identity Theft - cargo identity thieves may use a legitimate trucking carrier’s name to arrange to haul a specific load for a customer, and then disappear with the load.
2. Fictitious Pickups - a legitimate carrier has agreed to transport the load. Cargo thieves briefly disguise themselves as the legitimate carrier to steal a desired load from a shipper. They may call ahead and say they will be early for the scheduled pickup, and then arrive at a pickup point hours ahead of when the actual carrier was due. After signing for the shipment, they leave with the stolen cargo before the legitimate carrier arrives.
3. Misdirected Loads - some cargo thieves are actually setting up what appears to be a legitimate trucking operation, including contracting for insurance. After securing contracts to haul loads, and oftentimes hauling cargo several times without issue, they suddenly claim a mechanical failure during transit on a load targeted for theft to have an alibi. Meanwhile, a “thief” disappears with the stolen cargo while the truck is in the shop for repairs. These cargo thieves may even file a police report or an insurance claim to continue the impression that they were robbed.
4. Theft of Container/Trailer - thieves will hijack unattended cargo trucks and trailers. In some cases they will hookup their own tractor units and drive away or steal entire units together. In many cases, they will drive these for a short distance and attach another tractor of their own to continue to a safe unloading and storage facility. Typically they prey on equipment at busy truck stops and large distribution facilities known to handle product they consider worthwhile stealing.
5. Hybrid Theft Scams - a trucking company that has relationships with thieves will bid on cargo outside of their areas of expertise. When the load is “stolen,” they claim to have had no involvement claiming their identity was compromised.
This all may sound intimidating but here are some tips to avoid the losses to your business:
- Know your threats, research where thefts are occurring and if these are near the routes your cargo may travel.
- Enforce regular and consistent communication with dispatchers or home office.
- Implement strict identification procedures that incorporate pre-notification of both the transportation company and name of driver, at a minimum.
- Eliminate unnecessary stops, keep cargo moving—cargo at rest is cargo at risk.
- Park in secure locations.
- Use covert tracking devices.
- Use high security locks to secure tractors and trailers while cargo is not moving.