Cargo theft is something that every trucker worries about. It’s expected that in the dead of night, a criminal could break into your truck and take what they want. In the morning, the driver would arrive to see their empty truck. Unfortunately, criminals are smarter than that. They’ve upped their game and adopted new strategies that are elaborate and elusive. One criminal group is larger and more detailed than any other, and they’re taking massive scores. They succeed because they’re not just stealing at random, and they’re not targeting truckers. They target electronics and other in-demand products, and they target motor carriers by posing as truckers themselves.
Brokers find truckers on behalf of a company to ship their goods. They contact a trucking company, hire the drivers, and give them the address. The trucker arrives, loads the cargo, and drives off, presumably to drop off the shipment. This crime group found a way to get these orders right to their own trucks. They arrive with their fake or stolen CDLs and a stolen truck. Their paperwork is good enough to fool many in the supply chain. When they get the goods on the truck, they drive to a secondary truck and load their stolen goods. At that point, it’s almost impossible to find them.
They can succeed in this because they appear to know the trucking industry very well. They’ve identified the cracks in the industry. They’ll arrive as a double or triple brokered carrier. They know how to talk their way out of any noncompliance investigation. Most importantly, they target shipments with pickups and drop-offs separated by a weekend. This allows them to commit their crimes outside of business hours when there is little risk of someone asking any questions. All in all, they know exactly how to blend in as a legitimate carrier.
However, they are still criminals, and criminals aren’t perfect. There are some glaringly obvious things this group does that should set off red flags. You should know these red flags if they try to pick up a shipment from your company. If the CDL photo doesn’t match the driver, it is imperative to ask for an alternate form of ID. Criminals use temporary signage or freshly painted logos on their tractors and trailers. They use removable nuts instead of more permanent rivets on their trailer seal hasps. Most importantly, they use temporary or missing license plates and driver’s licenses. These are all signs that they may have a stolen truck and the truck is easily abandoned.
Obviously, criminals still need some sort of DOT number to do business. Investigators have two possible fraudulent DOT numbers. These numbers belong to Janjua Transport of Bakersfield and A&P Freight Lines. A&P has a recent history of insurance cancelations, revocations, and reinstatements. It’s important to check every driver’s DOT number on the FMCSA website before doing business with them.
Overall, this string of crimes may get worse before it gets better. Authorities can only do so much to prevent this, it’s going to take the trucking industry to help. Motor carriers and shipping houses need to do better at verifying their drivers. They can’t be afraid to ask questions, and they can’t be afraid to delay a shipment until they find a more reputable driver.