Supply chain professionals should be on high alert this upcoming holiday weekend because cargo thieves will seek to leverage extended business closures, according to the cargo theft prevention firm CargoNet.
The firm warns that reports of theft, fraud, and other kinds of criminal activity in the supply chain rose 41% in the first 20 weeks of 2023 compared to last year, reaching 900 incidents. New Jersey-based CargoNet says it helps prevent cargo theft and improve recovery rates through secure and controlled information sharing among theft victims, their business partners, and law enforcement.
One type of scam that has become particularly popular with criminals is known as shipment misdirection. Since November 2022, CargoNet has been tracking a sharp rise in that highly technical scheme across the United States. And fictitious pickup and fraud complaints are 675% higher in the first 20 weeks of 2023 compared to the first 20 weeks of 2022.
Most of the misdirection fraud has taken place in California, but some shipments have shipped from other states and have been misdirected to California. Southern California fictitious pickup groups have shown a preference for shipments of non-alcoholic beverages such as soda and energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, solar panels, and vehicle accessories like vehicle batteries, motor oils, tires, and auto parts. Monday and Friday were the most common days for fictitious pickups to occur.
Additional cargo theft locations also occurred in the Eastern half of the country, including:
- Full trailer theft activity from organized cargo theft groups from South Florida that surveil warehouses across the Eastern seaboard or Midwest and follow outbound shipments until the driver leaves the trailer unattended.
- Full trailer theft activity in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area.
- Trailer burglary in the Chicagoland area, especially around Bolingbrook, IL.
- Trailer burglary and full trailer theft activity in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.
- Trailer burglary and full trailer theft activity in Philadelphia, PA.
To prevent these cargo crimes, CargoNet advises that industry professionals should be on high alert for unauthorized attempts to misdirect shipments from the intended receiver. Before accepting a bid on a shipment, logistics brokers should consider enhanced carrier qualification practices including (a) verifying with the registered FMCSA phone number or email, (b) monitoring FMCSA SAFER for recent MCS-150 form updates, which may indicate unauthorized changes to a motor carrier’s contact information, (c) checking for established, positive load history. Shippers should also consider enhancing sign-in procedures to capture vital information about the truck and driver picking up a shipment, the firm said.