CargoNet is urging fleets and drivers to be alert this Thanksgiving, citing data showing that the risk of cargo theft is unusually high this year.  -  Graphic: CargoNet

CargoNet is urging fleets and drivers to be alert this Thanksgiving, citing data showing that the risk of cargo theft is unusually high this year.

Graphic: CargoNet

CargoNet is warning supply chain professionals that the threat of cargo theft activity is extremely high this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

CargoNet said it has been tracking a sharp increase in theft reports since November 2022. Since then, the average number of theft reports filed per week has increased to an average of 51 events per week, a 64% increase when compared to historical data between January 2012 and October 2022.

And the problem only appears to be escalating, CargoNet added.

Between October 1 and November 11, CargoNet has recorded an average of 66 reports per week, a 113% increase from the average number of reports per week between January 2012 and October 2022.

Strategic Theft Threat

CargoNet has recorded 433 new theft events since October 2023, a 101% increase year-over-year. These numbers include strategic cargo thefts or fictitious pickups and identity fraud reports made up 35% of reported crimes in this time period.

Fifty-six percent of strategic cargo thefts took place in California. Strategic cargo thefts happened across the state but were most frequent in of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Orange counties.

Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, motor oils, auto parts, apparel, solar energy generation items, and nutritional supplements were the most frequently stolen goods in strategic cargo thefts.

Organized crime groups perpetrating these crimes seek to obtain a load tender in one of several ways:

  • Outright impersonating a legitimate motor carrier.
  • Using an authority they have registered or have been given access to.
  • Deceiving a motor carrier into giving them the credentials to vital accounts.

CargoNet is aware of a recent wave of strategic cargo thefts in which criminals represented themselves as an outsourced dispatch service. They were hired by multiple motor carriers, and gained access to their emails, load board accounts, and FMCSA accounts to effectively "hijack" the authority and use it to get load tenders and steal truckload shipments. The criminals appeared to be legitimate representatives of the motor carriers to their victims because they were communicating via official accounts.

CargoNet said logistics brokers should be on alert for these strategies this upcoming holiday. If a load tender is emailed to a potential cargo thief, it is imperative to change the pickup information with the shipper to prevent theft of the shipment.

Full Truckload Threat

Since October 2023, CargoNet has also noted an increase in theft of unattended, loaded conveyances across the United States, the company said. Unattended freight is at high risk this holiday because of the likelihood it will be left unmonitored for several days before a driver returns to complete delivery.

Truckload theft rings have focused on shipments of major appliances, small appliances, non-alcoholic beverages, ATVs, and construction equipment. Thefts have been especially common in the following areas:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth, particularly along South Freeway at the I-20 and I-35W intersections in Fort Worth.
  • Atlanta Metro Area, particularly around Tucker and Stone Mountain and South Fulton, Fairburn, and Palmetto.
  • Florida in major freight hubs like Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami.
  • Southern California, especially in San Bernardino County and Riverside County.

CargoNet believes that the risk during this upcoming holiday is unlike any recent year. Strategic cargo theft groups over the past year have shown that they ramp up activity around major holidays because they understand logistics brokers will be under pressure and more likely to make mistakes.

Additionally, CargoNet said it is concerned recent spikes in theft of unattended, loaded conveyances, particularly in Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Southern California will continue into the holiday season beyond after Thanksgiving.

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