Cargo theft has been around as long as humans have been transporting goods for sale. But in recent years, fraud has played a role in much as 10% of all cargo theft. Known as the “fictitious pick up,” this relatively new mode of cargo theft (it emerged as a trend around 2005) involves a type of identity theft. Thieves use falsified credentials to pose as legitimate carriers, contract to carry the load, and then to pick up the load. No one is the wiser until the load is long gone and it’s too late. The internet has made it fairly easy for criminals to get the information they need to assume an existing or defunct carrier’s identity. Thefts involving the fictitious pick up mode have grown along with the rise in web-based brokering, which allows computer-savvy criminals to take advantage. It’s relatively easy for criminals to set up phony companies online and obtain insurance. Here are some practices companies can implement to prevent fictitious pickup cargo theft.
- Promptly report all fictitious pickups to law enforcement.
- Subscribe to reporting services such as CargoNet or FreightWatch to monitor thefts in your area.
- Use technology to maintain a chain-of-custody for the cargo.
- Request and inspect both a driver’s license and company issued identification from the driver, in addition to the driver’s US DOT Medical Examiners Certificate.
- Take a close up photograph of the driver, license plate, and truck.
- Check all documentation for accuracy and photograph or scan.
- Validate and vet any third parties, including brokers and carriers.
- Vet drivers by checking driving history and past employment.