Cargo Thieves becoming more sophisticated
Just as in personal identity theft, technology has greatly increased the sophistication with which cargo theft rings operate. By educating themselves on the most common techniques, companies can protect their cargo and prevent interruptions to their supply chains.
According to Kirk Rider, director of Risk Control at Travelers Insurance, “The thieves that commit cargo theft today are not like cargo thieves of five years ago. They are more likely to leverage technology to exploit very small gaps in even some of the best cargo theft prevention programs.”
One tactic they use is to take advantage of the layers of middlemen. As cargo gets passed from one company to another, cargo identity thieves may use a legitimate trucking carrier’s name to arrange to haul a specific load for a customer, and then disappear with the load. Combat this by implementing strict identification procedures that incorporate pre-notification of both the transportation company and name of the driver.
Not all methods involve technology or high levels of sophistication, though. Sometimes thieves simply pretend to be the assigned carrier and take the load before anyone is the wiser. They may call ahead and say they will be early for the scheduled pickup, and then arrive at a pickup point hours ahead of when the actual carrier was due. After signing for the shipment, they leave with the stolen cargo before the legitimate carrier arrives.
Of course, there is also the tried-and-true method of hijacking unattended cargo. Typically they prey on equipment at busy truck stops and large distribution facilities known to handle product they consider worth stealing. In addition to proven strategies such as keeping cargo moving and only parking at very secure locations, carriers can also use covert tracking devices and high-security locks to secure tractors and trailers while cargo is not moving.
Staying abreast of the latest methods used to steal cargo is an important tool in reducing costs and hassle.