It doesn’t take much to become a victim of fraud these days. It’s everywhere and permeates almost every industry and the transportation industry is no different. If you are caught with your guard down, the scammer is out there waiting to capitalize on your weakness or carelessness. How can you prevent yourself from becoming a victim of transportation fraud? What are some facts and red flags that can help to keep you on your toes and alert you of a transportation fraud that you should avoid? Here we’ll help you identify some of the common types of transportation fraud that you should look out for.

Cargo Theft

One of the most common forms of transportation fraud is cargo theft. It’s a money-making enterprise that tends to happen more frequently during truck and/or container transportation. More specifically, thefts typically occur during the loading and unloading process. According to one source, cargo theft is a $15 to $30 billion-dollar problem annually in the United States, with an average loss value recorded per incident at $254,800.  Dishonest employees, lack of proper cargo security, lack of internal audit is some of the ways that cargo gets stolen. Counter those problems and others to minimize cargo theft. 

Fuel Advance Fraud

Sometimes called a “double brokering scam,” fuel advance fraud is a transportation crime that occurs frequently. This crime occurs when a criminal impersonates a carrier and presents himself as such and accepts freight from a freight broker or freight agent who is clueless of the deceit. The fraudster then goes on to broker the freight to a legitimate carrier, usually for a higher price than the original customer had agreed upon. With stolen and altered documents, the fraudster can rip off a freight broker, convincing that broker that he belongs to a legitimate company. The fraudster gets the money and disappears but could also go on to repeat the scam again and again if not caught.

Unrecognized Phone Numbers

It’s not unusual to see scammers pose as a representative of a legitimate company. They will present seemingly valid paperwork that will oftentimes not be seen as warranting a second look. However, it’s important to always perform a thorough check of paperwork that is presented to you. It’s important to verify the telephone numbers presented on the paperwork. While it’s possible for a broker or carrier to have a separate phone number from that of the company’s main office, you shouldn’t simply overlook the need to run the number and verify the carrier’s identity. Even if it’s not an automatic red flag in your book, treat it as such and do your due diligence. We recommend using the AWA Identity Theft Protector Tool when doing business with a new broker or carrier you have not worked with in the past.

You can avoid transportation fraud by knowing first and foremost what to look out for. Be thorough in your assessment of paperwork and verify all pertinent information. Follow your gut and slow down when conducting business.

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