CargoNet has recorded 692 theft events across the United States and Canada in the third quarter of 2023, a 59% increase when compared to the third quarter of 2022. In total, thieves stole more than $31.1 million in shipments in the third quarter of 2023.
Like in the second quarter of 2023, much of the increase is due to ongoing shipment misdirection attacks, a kind of strategic cargo theft in which actors use stolen motor carrier and logistics broker identities to obtain freight and misdirect it from the intended receiver so they can steal it.
In the third quarter of 2023, reported thefts increased in every event category.
Strategic Cargo Theft
Documented strategic cargo theft events increased 430% year-over-year and theft of a loaded conveyance, such as a full trailer, increased 4% year-over-year.
Strategic cargo thefts were most common in:
CargoNet also recorded a significant increase in the "other" category, which combines several categories of reports like identity theft complaints, hostage loads, late shipment complaints, and other kinds of criminal intelligence records.
Theft Not Slowing
CargoNet said as the industry enters the final quarter of 2023, there is no indication that cargo theft activity will slow in the United States. It also reported it expects that strategic cargo theft will remain at unprecedented levels of activity throughout the quarter.
“We caution the industry that throughout this year, strategic cargo theft rings have picked up activity around holiday periods,” CargoNet said in a statement.
Commodity Theft Expands
Additionally, strategic cargo theft groups have widened their preferred commodity targets to include truckload shipments of metals like copper, brass, and aluminum; apparel — especially officially licensed sports apparel; and shipments of personal care and beauty products.
New Theft Methods
CargoNet cautions that strategic cargo theft groups continue to pioneer new methods of strategic cargo theft that seek to evade common compliance practices used by logistics brokers. Strategic cargo theft groups have shown keen interest in perpetrating fraud against small motor carriers or owner/operators with intent of hijacking their accounts or convincing them to solicit shipments from logistics brokers on their behalf, the company said.
Both strategies seek to evade identity theft checks a logistics broker may do prior to tendering a shipment.
CargoNet suggests reporting any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately and contact CargoNet only after law enforcement has been notified and there are no immediate threats to life or property.