With technology increasingly taking an important role in automated vehicles, it comes as no surprise that tactics in approaching cargo theft are transforming from creating fraudulent companies to arranging fictitious pickups. In order to safeguard your businesses cargo from theft, it’s important to become aware of the current theft tactics employed to disrupt your supply chains.

Despite the tightening of supply chains leading to a 6% drop in cargo theft in 2015, the FreightWatch International Supply Chain Intelligence centre considers it to be on the rise in the US due to the continued innovated attempts at breaching security procedures by thieves gaining wider access to technology.

The Travelers Investigative Services Specialty Investigations Group (SIG) has created the below list on the top 5 tactics businesses should be aware of:

1. Identity Theft

Cargo identity thieves may use a legitimate trucking carrier’s name to arrange to haul a specific load for a customer, and then disappear with the load. The thefts can be months in planning, with thieves involved throughout the contracting and load planning process.

2. Fictitious Pickups

Cargo thieves briefly disguise themselves as the legitimate carriers to steal a desired load from a shipper. They may call ahead and say they will be early for the scheduled pickup, and then arrive at a pickup point hours ahead of when the actual carrier was due.

3. Theft of Trailer/Container

Hijacking unattended cargo trucks and trailers is nothing new, however using mechanical hook-ups to their own tractor units and drive away shows the development in innovative technical advancements. Typically, they prey on equipment at busy truck stops and large distribution facilities known to handle product they consider worthwhile stealing.

4. Hybrid Theft Scams

A trucking company that has relationships with thieves will bid on cargo outside of their areas of expertise. When the load is “stolen,†they claim to have had no involvement claiming their identity was compromised. Travelers SIG professionals emphasises the importance of the right relationships between carriers, shippers and third-party logistics providers.

5. Misdirected Loads

Some cargo thieves set up legitimate trucking operations by securing contracts to haul loads and then they suddenly claim a mechanical failure during transit on a load targeted to create an alibi for the stolen theft. These cargo thieves may even file a police report or an insurance claim to continue the impression that they were robbed.

What does this all mean for shippers?

In order to help prevent cargo theft, shippers should conduct their due diligence on all third parties responsible for carrying their cargo, especially when dealing with a new company that has no track record or one that has been inactive for several years before becoming active again.


According to this Travelers article, there are 7 key questions companies should ask in order to eliminate the risk:

Technology in automated vehicles is presenting all sorts of new opportunities and risks inside the insurance world. Another trend that is causing people to take note is the introduction of driver-less vehicles. Catch our article about what it means moving forward here.



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