As lifestyles and business operations change due to shutdowns and stay-at-home orders nationwide, supply chain experts are warning business owners, workers, and the general public about a growing risk of pandemic-related criminal activity. A rise in the sale of counterfeit N95 masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE), increasing cyber attacks, and the potential for cargo theft of PPE are driving demand for stricter risk mitigation efforts, they say.
"In these challenging times of a global pandemic, just as the port and maritime industry has made adjustments to meet the requirements of the emerging 'new normal,' criminals and terrorists are also adjusting their nefarious activities to take advantage of changing lifestyles and commercial operations," officials at the Port of New York and New Jersey said this week, pointing to a rise in crime related to the pandemic, including :
Port officials recommend a list of sources and practices to help its customers and employees eliminate the risks, including "rumor control" sources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness as well tips for avoiding information theft and fraudulent activity from Homeland Security Investigations. They also recommend purchasing PPE only from brand-name authorized dealers and reporting suspicious activity around port, transportation, distribution and logistics facilities.
The British Standards Institution (BSI) has also released some guidelines and practical tips for keeping supply chains safe during the pandemic, especially when it comes to protecting PPE shipments. Planning shorter routes, training drivers on security risks, and using available technology to track shipments are just a few of the actions carriers can take. BSI says carriers should develop: