Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Insurance Group Warns of Carrier Fraud in Last of Series of Instructional Crime Prevention Pieces

Know Who You Are Dealing With Shippers Warned
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Due diligence. A much used phrase but one it seems anyone involved in the world of shipping and logistics should be more aware of now, even more than before in an age when criminals are using ever more sophisticated techniques to enrich themselves via cargo theft.

This month the insurance specialist TT Club published the fourth instalment of its articles regarding fraud within the industry, and the piece examines new criminal techniques which have evolved as shipping practices change, in this case dealing with carrier fraud.

One of the advantages which criminals now have is the freedom of information which hitherto might have been available only to direct contacts of those involved with a shipment. The drastic shortage of drivers, particularly throughout Europe, has undoubtedly led more companies into taking advantage of services such as freight exchange sites.

Of course criminals can anonymously browse such sites, seeking cargoes eminently saleable, with the huge advantage that the scam does not need any equipment, or indeed personnel who will directly meet either shipper or carrier.

Having found a suitable cargo the crooks can track any respectable haulier with equipment in the area. From here it is a simple job to contact the shipper representing themselves as a known freight forwarder or haulier and offer to take on the job at an attractive rate.

Forgery and misrepresentation are meat and drink to such creatures and modern technology offers an abundance of help to the crooks. The criminals disguise themselves as a respectable industry name and, having had their ‘quote’ accepted, they can then offer the job to the innocent haulier at a premium rate with a guarantee of payment on delivery.

Thus the trap is set, the load collected, the driver instructed and sent on his way. Now the crooks get in touch with the haulier with a tale of how the same consignee now wants delivery to an alternative address (not exactly unknown in this business even for genuine contracts), payment for inconvenience and any extra time or mileage agreed upon, to be paid in cash at the delivery point.

The new address is of course controlled by the villains, perhaps simply another innocent party, a warehouseman charged with R.H & D, again for a decent rate. From here the goods can be made to disappear for resale on whatever part of the open market suits.

So, the danger points for the crooks? Due diligence when the contract is agreed is a simple matter, know your haulier or freight forwarding agent, not just by their website being wary if there is any chance it has been concocted for this purpose. If things ever take a turn during a transaction (who pays in cash?) speak directly to the driver, not through a third party.

To read the original TT Club take on this type of crime, or to read the previous, similarly informative articles, click HERE.