As freight theft continues to increase, carriers should practice preventative measures to mitigate their risk of becoming victims.

Posted & filed under Carrier Connection.

In Q3 of 2023, CargoNet reported that freight thieves had stolen over $31.1 million in shipments. Based on the median US income, that’s enough to sustain more than 400 families for a year.

Unfortunately, Q3 represented an alarming trend for freight theft. As freight theft continues to increase, carriers should practice preventative measures to mitigate their risk of becoming victims.


Freight Theft at a High

CargoNet recorded 692 events in Q3, translating to a 59% increase in freight theft year over year.


Infographic courtesy of CargoNet.

This leap in theft is staggering. Regarding documented strategic cargo theft, the industry saw a 430% increase year over year. This increase matched the expectations of many sources that reported on the Kentucky cargo theft spike in September.

Though freight theft comes in many forms, CargoNet found that misdirection attacks comprised the bulk of the theft incidents. Misdirection attacks involve fraudulent brokers misdirecting loads to locations where theft can take place. Most victims tended to be smaller trucking companies.

Despite the enormous numbers comprising the Q3 report, CargoNet speculates that a lack of reporting likely stifles the actual instances of theft.

With theft at such a historic high, many carriers are instituting heavier fraud prevention practices.


How to Prevent Freight Theft

Education is the greatest prevention of tragedy. Above all, take the time to become familiar with the many varieties of freight crime. Try this freight crime guide to get started.

Once familiar with the different kinds of freight crime, try these best practices to keep your fleet safe:


  1. Be Cautious When Sharing Your Info

Carriers should exercise great caution when sharing information related to their cargo, schedule, or route.

Always ensure that the broker you are working with is licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to gauge their legitimacy. Look for common tell-tale signs of fraud, including illegitimate email, address, or telephone information.

Additionally, be cautious when posting on social media. Thieves will sometimes comb social media to determine a trucker’s location.


  1. Be Mindful of Where You Park Your Truck

For a full guide on determining a safe place to stop for the night, review our How To Spot a Dangerous Truck Stop guide.


  1. Make a Habit of Inspecting Your Equipment

When making the typical stops associated with a route, take time to inspect your truck and trailer for signs of tampering, including:

  • Damage to locks or other security devices
  • Signs of strain on trailer or truck doors
  • Scratches or markings near door handles

If any of these signs are identified, exercise extreme caution. Do not delay any repairs necessary to locks or other security devices.

Freight theft is becoming increasingly common and sophisticated in today’s industry. Despite theft’s sharp rise, carriers can prevent crime by guarding their information, parking in safe lots, and maintaining a watchful eye on their equipment.


Stay safe, carriers.


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