The unprecedented crime wave affecting over-the-road freight transportation in the continental United States shows no signs of slowing down over the upcoming Labor Day holiday, according to theft prevention and recovery service provider CargoNet.
Last week, theft reports to CargoNet reached their second-highest levels of the year, and crime typically rises over holiday periods due to closed offices and unguarded loads.
Over the past five Labor Day holidays, CargoNet recorded 156 events with an average cargo value of $151,726 per event. Cargo thieves have typically preferred to steal valuable shipments of televisions, computers, and major appliances. Thefts were most common near major supply chain hubs in Southern California, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, Memphis, and Atlanta.
This year’s favored targets include truckload shipments of solar panels, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, motor oil, and consumer electronics. CargoNet is also warning of increased targeting of shipments of building materials such as shingles, lumber, and power tools in response to extreme weather events in the Southeast. Hurricane Idalia struck the Gulf coast of Florida early this morning and has been leaving a path of wreckage north of Tampa Bay.
The latest crime technique favored by freight thieves is the shipment misdirection scheme, a kind of fictitious pickup, CargoNet said. In these schemes, attackers impersonate a motor carrier to gain authorization to transport a shipment and then hire a motor carrier to deliver the shipment to a location they have access to so they can steal the shipment. Attackers often impersonate two or three different companies to disguise their identities and deceive their victims.
To guard against those plots, shippers should consider recording information about the motor carrier, driver, and vehicles used to pick up a shipment for investigative follow-up in case a shipment is stolen. Logistics brokers should build sophisticated compliance programs to detect motor carrier identity theft, especially if a commodity has been frequently targeted.
Additional defenses against similar types of fraud include security protocols added to online freight matching and driver payment networks, and improved carrier identity management technologies. Providers of such tools include TriumphPay, Transfix, Highway, and Overhaul, a supply chain visibility provider which recently released its “United States Q2-2023 Cargo Theft Report."