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Trucking Scams Hurt Everyone (But You Get What You Pay For)

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Last month we wrote about the resurgent U.S. trucking industry, as well as the challenges facing hauliers as their services experience increased demand. One challenge that we didn't mention is that of identity fraud, and it's catching attention outside of the industry this week.

Haulage in action (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reports across mainstream news outlets suggest that a simple but highly damaging scam is costing the sector millions of dollars every year.

These articles detail the way in which con artists scour the web for desirable shipments, posing as truckers, then simply hooking up to a load and hauling it away. Often, the first the supplier hears about such thefts is when a customer calls to complain about a missed delivery, by which time the thieves are long gone with goods valued in the six figure range. This for a ruse that can cost them as little as $300 for a carrier ID and some time at the wheel of a big rig.

But are these trucking scams as simple and widespread as the articles suggest?

Haulage Theft: Reports vs. Reality

What may seem like a common problem after reading the reports, in actual fact comes down to that old adage, "you get what you pay for."  Trucking scams undoubtedly do occur, just as do thefts in our personal lives, but the quality of security must be examined whenever covering these cases.

high security container seal
A close up of a high security seal on a shipping container. (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

More often than not, this quality comes down to robust procedures and verification systems that are rigorously adhered to.

For example, our facilities at Capacity LLC implement multi-step verification processes, both off and on site, before any shipment is permitted to leave our premises.

These checks and measures include:

  • First and foremost, any and all pick ups must be scheduled. Without an appointment on the books, no hauler will be allowed on site.
  • Driver's license number and/or trailer identification number must be verified before a vehicle is permitted to enter.
  • Once on site, the following shipment details must be verified:
    • The delivery pick up number,
    • Order number (incl. piece count),
    • The carrier's PRO (Progressive Rotating Order) number, which also links back to subsequent invoicing checks, and is the equivalent of a package tracking number.
  • Managerial presence and sign off for high value shipments worth more than $100,000.
  • For loads travelling across the country, C-TPAP and ISO-17712 compliant high security seals, similar to the one pictured here.

Guard Against Trucking Scams

With strict adherence to protocol and procedure, thefts become extremely difficult and certainly far more involved than some of the scenarios described.

Given the value of most shipments running into five or six figures, it almost always pays to opt for expertise, rather than less expensive  alternatives that almost inevitably adopt a lower level of security. In the end, this is by far the best protection against the kinds of trucking scams being reported at this time.