A royalty free image from the transportaion industry of two truck drivers using a laptop computer at a truckstop.
A royalty free image from the transportaion industry of two truck drivers using a laptop computer at a truckstop.

High through the years of  2011 and 2013, cargo theft, as a result of fictitious pickup, declined by 18% last year, which is good news. The bad news is that the average value per theft increased 36% to $232,924, while most truckers only carry $100,000 worth of freight insurance.

To avoid cargo theft and losing shipments to carriers with more insurance protection, freight brokers or shippers should consider buying excess cargo insurance coverage.

So what defines cargo theft by fictitious pickup? Using false identification or bogus carrier names, criminals pose as legitimate truck drivers to trick companies into handing loads over to them which they subsequently sell on the open market. Because the crime sometimes occurs when victims neglect due diligence on carriers and drivers, it is under reported despite the fact that it represents 8% of reported cargo theft.

Thanks to the internet, it is easy for criminals to set up online phony companies to win transportation bids and obtain truck freight insurance. However, there are practices companies can do to thwart cargo theft by fictitious pickup.

• Subscribe to a reporting service such as FreightWatch, SC-ISAC or CargoNet to monitor area thefts and promptly report attempts and incidents of fictitious pickup to law enforcement agencies.

• Validate and vet third parties including brokers and carriers. Work together and communicate frequently with all members of your supply chain.

• Vet truck drivers and reduce liability with job applicant and employee screening of driving history and past employment. Use monitoring services to check for any changes to drivers’ motor vehicle records.

• Use technology such as intelligent routing, telematics, real-time monitoring, geo-fencing, GPS and shipper/carrier communication protocols to maintain chain of custody for cargo.

• Before releasing cargo, request and inspect both a government issued and company issued identification from driver in addition to the driver’s US DOT Medical Examiners Certificate. Capture biometric information such as a fingerprint and take a close-up photo of driver to get a clearly visible picture of the face. High-definition photos of ID’s are very useful for police investigations and criminal prosecution. Check all documentation such as bills of lading for accuracy and scan. Photograph truck and license plate, carefully noting tags, ID numbers and signage. ID Verify, available online, is a way to validate driver and transportation personnel identity. Remember to securely handle and store all collected personal information to protect privacy.

Using readily available information technology and sharing information with other members of the supply chain will effectively counter the growing threat of cargo theft, by fictitious pickup.