Cargo thieves hit online logistics companies

by Canadian Shipper

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) is warning of a new cargo theft scam targeting freight brokers.

“The bad guys are pulling loads right off the Link,” says Ray Haight, president and chief operating officer of MacKinnon Transport and a board member of the TCA.

Originating in the Southeastern U.S., the basic plot is that the criminals will call the broker and state they are interested in a particular load advertised on the digital board. They will provide phone and fax numbers for the company they claim to represent, however, these will generally differ from actual numbers used by the fleet. This will be explained with, “Oh, I’m in a new branch. We just opened up a new facility here in…”

If the broker calls back, it sounds like the company’s receptionist has answered the call, but the TCA says it is usually just someone on a pre-paid cellular phone. In the case of a fax, it goes through to a firm such as Mail Boxes, Etc. or Kinko’s.

Once the broker is convinced they are dealing with a real trucking company, he issues all of the necessary paperwork and notifies the shipper how the load will be going out. A truck arrives, the driver has all of the proper documentation and the shipper literally helps thieves rip off thousands of dollars in freight.

“If it’s supposed to be a three-day delivery, in at least one case the crooks called on the second day and said they dropped a transmission,” says Haight. “They just bought themselves a some extra time and then disappeared.”

He stresses this situation has yet to be reported in Canada, however, it is likely only a matter of time before it does.

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