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 min read.|30 May 24

6 Ways to Get Your Cargo Stolen

Hundreds of trucks travel the roads daily, loaded with thousands of different products. Logistics is one of the sectors with the most significant economic impact, moving vast amount of money worth of goods every day.

And thieves know that, too.


In 2024, the United States experienced a significant increase in cargo theft incidents. In the first quarter of 2024 alone, there were 925 cargo theft incidents - a 46% increase over the same period in 2023. The average value of stolen shipments was over $250,000, with the estimated total value of goods stolen during this period amounting to over $150 million. Key hotspots for these thefts include Southern California, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Atlanta, and New York and New Jersey. This trend highlights the pressing need for advanced security and more effective communication and tracking.

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Transport companies are aware of this reality and make every effort to adopt security measures to prevent it. Still, thieves are becoming increasingly innovative in defying security and taking over the goods. 

That is why it is so important to consider every detail when transporting goods, especially high-value goods, which are cargo thieves' main targets. 

The techniques used by robbers are becoming more sophisticated, but there are repeating patterns to consider that may make it easier to recognize and prevent cargo theft in the future.

  1. Cargo Theft

    Drivers need breaks, and they are legally obligated to take them. When a truck is left alone, it becomes vulnerable to theft. Thieves take advantage of this situation to obtain the goods transported. The most common technique is to transfer the goods to their transport and flee, especially valuable items.

    To avoid this, drivers and transportation companies must be aware of this problem and adopt measures such as using padlocks, not leaving trucks unattended, parking only in safe places, and using the most suitable type of lorry in each case.

    They must pay attention, especially at the first stops on their journey, as some thieves probe drivers to find out when they pick up loads and then follow drivers intending to steal goods when the driver stops. 

  2. Impostor Freight Forwarder

    In the logistics industry, one common scam involves fake companies. These fraudsters pose as real shippers or freight forwarders by using fake documents to seem trustworthy. They might book transport services and provide fake pickup and delivery details, only to involve the carriers in schemes like transporting stolen goods or not paying for transportation services. That's why carriers need to pay close attention to the credentials and references of the companies they do business with before agreeing to transport their cargo.

  3. Driver Impersonation

    In another scam, scammers pretend to be legitimate drivers and apply to work at a transport company. Once they gain trust and access to valuable goods, they steal the cargo during transit. This theft relies on gaining the company's trust, making it hard to detect. Transport companies must be careful in their hiring and vetting processes to prevent such internal fraud.

  4. Email Bank Detail Scams

    This scam is a frequent issue in the freight forwarding industry, involving a fraudulent email where the scammer impersonates a contact person. The email falsely claims that a change of bank details is needed. The scammers hack into their customers' accounts and have access to all the information, making the email look legitimate and easy to fall victim to. 

  5. Insider Thieves

    In this case, the thieves are the drivers themselves. They join a company pretending to be legitimate transporters, offering to deliver goods safely. However, once the service is completed, they vanish with the cargo, leaving the company and customers at a significant loss. This type of internal theft can be particularly challenging to detect and prevent. That is why it's crucial to employ carriers and drivers with proven trustworthiness. Conduct thorough background checks and verify references to protect valuable shipments.

  6. Identity Theft

    This is another common type of scam in the transport and logistics sector. In this case, the fraudster creates a fake website with the same name as a legitimate and reputable freight forwarding company. They make this website to scam customers and steal their money. Since many freight forwarding companies have similar names, one should be very careful before entering negotiations. 

In summary, cargo theft is on the rise, posing a significant threat to the logistics industry. To combat this, transport companies must remain vigilant and implement robust security measures. 

Companies can better protect their assets by understanding common tactics used by thieves, such as cargo theft during driver breaks and sophisticated scams. 

Vigilance, attention to detail, and trusted partnerships are essential in thwarting these theft attempts and ensuring the safe delivery of valuable shipments. 

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