Con men that are looking to steal large shipments of valuable cargo have stepped up their game.
Rather than relying on smash and grab jobs where trucks are stolen from parking lots, now thieves are turning to a more advanced method: Posing as truckers who load the cargo freight onto their own vehicles and simply driving away with their loot.
This form of commercial identity theft is growing in use and trending to become the most common way to steal freight cargo.
In this type of scam, thieves are assuming the identity of a trucking company by reactivating an inactive Department of Transportation carrier number that is obtained through a government website. This allows them to appear to be a reputable company that has longstanding safety record, and they also supply themselves with fraudulent paperwork such as driver’s licenses, insurance policies and everything else necessary to appear legitimate.
The thieves then offer low bids to the freight brokers which handle shipping for various companies. When the truckers show up, everything seems to be authentic, but then the drivers take off with the merchandise.
The switch to more advanced schemes comes from the trucking industry’s broadened use of GPS devises and software, innovative security measures and all-around better equipment that has pressed thieves into adopting new cons.
Food and beverage companies are typically targeted because these types of goods are easier to sell on the black market and much more difficult to trace. Often times, these goods end up at smaller grocery stores or to distribution warehouses.
These types of thefts have hurt the nation’s trucking industry, which transports nearly 70 percent of all domestic shipments. But on top of that, they also affect consumers because of the increased prices of merchandise and the potential hazards of unsafe food and drugs reaching stores.
According to the California Farm Bureau Federation, some potential clues that may help indicate whether to be suspicious include the use of temporary name placards or identification numbers on the truck, abrupt changes in the time of the pickup and lack of a GPS tracking system on the truck.