As a third-party logistics company (3PL), our job at Trinity Logistics is to service our customers and carriers to the best of our ability. Our job cannot be properly performed if there’s a lack of transparency. Fraud in transportation is on the rise, and the culprits are getting craftier every year. According to Land Line, cargo theft was up by 49 percent in the first quarter of 2020. During this time, the average value of the cargo lost per incident was more than $105,000. With statistics like these, it’s important to be proactive against cargo theft and freight fraud. We’re here to talk through some of the common ways that theft occurs and some proven ways to fight fraud when you ship freight.
Dealing with fraud when you ship freight is not an ideal situation to be in. It’s even less ideal and frustrating when there’s different ways for individuals to do so. We’ve listed some of the most common ways in which cargo theft and fraud can happen.
Currently, identity theft is one of the top ways to administer a scam. The way identity theft works in this instance begins with a scammer calling a legitimate shipper or broker and posing as a trucking company. With this stolen identity, the scammer can cause harm in many ways. Some scammers will pose as the trucking company, arrive to pick up the freight, and then drive away with your goods, never to be seen again. Others will ask for fuel advances, take the money, and run. Some may even scam you further by double brokering.
Double brokering is an unethical offense that typically occurs within the carrier network. Double brokering starts out with a shipper or broker booking a carrier for a shipment, and that carrier in turn brokers the load to a third party. This happens without the shipper or the broker’s knowledge or approval. Double brokering is frowned upon in the freight industry. Not only are there liability problems, such as a lack of insurance or a contract with the carrier that actually hauls your freight, but also a lack of control. If double brokering occurs, there could be billing and liability issues for you to deal with.
At Trinity Logistics, we take double brokering and identity theft seriously. If any of the carriers that we work with are caught double brokering or stealing someone’s identity, we place them on a Do-Not-Load (DNL) list. We understand trust is extremely important when it comes to shipping freight and we don’t want you to have any doubts when it comes to the carriers who move your freight.
This method of theft is just what it sounds like. Thieves will connect tractors to trailers and simply drive away with them. These incidences usually happen at truck stops or drop yards while drivers are distracted. Once thieves have unloaded products elsewhere and believe they cannot be tracked, they abandon the trailers. This method isn’t as common today with advanced technology and tracking systems in trailers, but it’s still necessary to be aware of the risk.
Cargo theft and fraud can come in several different forms and can occur at any given time. To ensure your product arrives to its destination safely and on time, we’ve come up with a few ways to fight fraud when you ship freight.
When it comes to combatting cargo theft and fraud, it’s hard to know where to start. While finding trustworthy carriers is a good first step, there are several other proven ways to fight fraud from happening.
Communicate with Your Driver
Truck drivers are the first line of defense when it comes to cargo theft. If possible, make sure the driver you’re working with has been screened to avoid any possibility of fraud. Drivers should also be kept up to speed about cargo theft activity, so they are prepared for potential threats. Alert drivers of any hijacking hotpots or locations with high cargo theft activity so they can be hyperaware of their surroundings. You should also ensure that your driver has had proper training on how to report incidences such as theft. Make sure that the person delivering your freight is reliable and knowledgeable about combatting cargo theft. This is important when delivering your shipment in one piece.
Verify that the employee or agent representing a logistics company is truly an authorized representative for the company they claim to be employed. Use the FMCSA website to obtain the company’s phone number on their information page and contact them directly. If they’ve never heard of the person, something is wrong and now you’ve prevented a scam!
Check the Doors
Did you know that by law, every motor carrier must have their trucking company name and USDOT# or MC# on the side of their truck? It is usually found on the door of the cab. If the name on the side of the truck does not match to the name of the company you hired or your freight broker arranged on your behalf, red sirens should go off with your dock workers. We highly encourage you to create a process by which you require your loaders to inspect the door personally to match the two names and if there is a discrepancy, do not load the truck until it’s been ironed out.
In this day and age, technology can become your best friend. GPS tracking can help determine the location of a stolen vehicle. Your company can also utilize geofencing apps to notify you if your freight travels outside of its route. There’s even vehicle immobilization technology that remotely disables a stolen vehicle until it’s found. All of this technology will help limit the number of intrusions.
Being proactive when it comes to fighting fraud when you ship freight is a major part in keeping your shipment safe. However, doing it yourself can be a hassle. By working with a reliable 3PL, you can save yourself time from the processes of vetting carriers. Trinity Logistics will make sure everything matches up so that your shipment is delivered intact.
Here at Trinity, we take care of all of these steps to proactively fight fraud with you. Our Team has years of experience thoroughly vetting our carrier network, not just in the initial set up process, but on every shipment as well. We make sure to consistently verify who we are working with and build strong, solid relationships with many Distinguished Providers. We make sure to work with top-of-the-art tracking technology, so you know exactly where your freight is every step of the way.
One of our Guiding Values that our team lives by is Integrity. We always do the right thing. You can trust that we will do everything we can to make sure your shipment is delivered in one piece, without losing any freight.
Want to gain peace of mind when shipping your freight?
Originally posted on June 26, 2014. Updated by Tori Dalton.
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