Cargo Theft, Up By 41% Over Last Year, Could Increase This Holiday Weekend
Cargo theft, already growing to alarming levels so far this year, could spike during the upcoming long Memorial Day holiday, so a monitoring company says supply chain professionals should be on high alert because cargo thieves will seek to leverage extended business closures.
CargoNet, a Verisk business, warns that in the first 20 weeks of 2023, there have been over 900 reports of theft, fraud, and other kinds of criminal activity in the supply chain, a 41% increase from 2022. Since November 2022, CargoNet has been tracking a sharp rise in highly technical shipment misdirection fraud schemes across the United States. Fictitious pickup and fraud complaints are 675% higher in the first 20 weeks of 2023 compared to the first 20 weeks of 2022.
Most of the misdirection fraud has taken place in California, but some shipments have shipped from other states and have been misdirected to California. Southern California fictitious pickup groups have shown a preference for shipments of non-alcoholic beverages such as soda and energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, solar panels, and vehicle accessories like vehicle batteries, motor oils, tires, and auto parts. Monday and Friday were the most common days for fictitious pickups to occur, according to CargoNet.
Industry professionals should be on high alert for unauthorized attempts to misdirect shipments from the intended receiver. CargoNet said before accepting a bid on a shipment, logistics brokers should consider enhanced carrier qualification practices including:
- verifying with the registered FMCSA phone number or email
- monitoring FMCSA SAFER for recent MCS-150 form updates, which may indicate unauthorized changes to a motor carrier’s contact information
- checking for established, positive load history.
Shippers should also consider enhancing sign-in procedures to capture vital information about the truck and driver picking up a shipment.
CargoNet is also concerned about heightened trailer burglary and full trailer theft activity in the Eastern half of the United States, including:
- Full trailer theft activity from organized cargo theft groups from South Florida that surveil warehouses across the Eastern seaboard or Midwest and follow outbound shipments until the driver leaves the trailer unattended
- Full trailer theft activity in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Area
- Trailer burglary in the Chicagoland area, especially around Bolingbrook, Illinois
- Trailer burglary and full trailer theft activity in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area.
- Trailer burglary and full trailer theft activity in Philadelphia
CargoNet warns again that current supply chain crime activity exceeds the previous 10 years when comparing the first 20 weeks of each year.