Top 3 Theft Commodities

The Top 3 most targeted theft commodities in transportation are: Food and Beverage, Household Goods, and Electronics. CargoNet, who specializes in cargo theft prevention, “recorded 582 events across the United States and Canada in the second quarter of 2023” equating to over $44 million in stolen shipments. Of the stolen shipments recorded in Q2, 51% of them took place in either California, Texas, or Illinois with an average shipment value of $260,000.

Strategic Cargo Theft

Strategic Cargo Theft is an ever-evolving concern for everyone involved in the supply chain cycle. From intermediaries to carriers and shippers, the evolution of strategic cargo theft has left all parties vulnerable. According to Travelers Risk Control Department, Strategic Cargo Theft can involve “unconventional methods, including the use of fraud and deceptive information intended to trick shippers, brokers and carriers to give the load to the thieves instead of the legitimate carrier. Trends include identity theft, fictitious pick-ups, double brokering scams and fraudulent carriers as well as hybrid combinations of these methods used together to create even more confusion.”

Tackling the Surge of Cyber-Crime in Transportation

While fraud and theft have always been a concern in the transportation realm, those concerns have certainly increased over the past couple of years. During the most recent boom market which took place from about mid-2020 to the end of 2022, a record-breaking number of new carriers entered the market. Trucking has a notoriously low barrier to entry which allows new carriers to file and gain authority quickly. The end of the COVID-era boom cycle has created an environment of desperation for several carriers which has exposed certain security related vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities that both domestic and foreign bad actors have learned to identify and target. Just since the beginning of the year alone, DAT has removed over 7,000 of these bad actors from their network and have begun collaborating with the FBI., the 2nd largest load provider board, recently announced they’re collaborating with the FBI as well to “tackle the surge in cargo theft!”

While these are encouraging steps, there is still a lot of work to be done as a small percentage of submitted claims are investigated and fewer result in persecutions. Mainly because:

  1. The individuals committing fraud are typically nowhere near the physical crime itself;
  2. The FBI takes a threat-response stance to cyber-crimes as opposed to an instant-response, which is more closely related to actions after a crime has already been committed.

Cyber-crime in transportation has been elevated to one of the FBI’s top 3 focuses behind defense and energy.

TIA Task Force

The TIA announced back in June that they would be forming a Fraud Task Force, that according to the TIA’s president & CEO Anne Reinke “will examine the latest marketplace trends, develop strategies to address fraud internally within brokerage operations, and work on legislative and regulatory solutions in the short, medium, and long term.” The creation of the TIA Task Force followed a letter from 8 US Senators and Members of Congress to Inspector General Soskin of the US Department of Transportation asking for the creation of a “Task Force” to tackle the enormity of fraud concerns in the transportation sector. The opening paragraph of the letter read as follows: “We write to share concerns regarding an area of increasing unlawful supply-chain fraud and theft. Specifically, stolen truck loads and funding fraud schemes when truckers drop off their loads, but do not get paid, are disrupting freight hauling by truck and brokering. We thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.”