Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Internet Truck Scam Hits Road Haulage of Food Freight Shipments

Stolen US Meat Thefts May Run to Millions of Dollars
Shipping News Feature

US – WORLWIDE – As we are always saying at the Handy Shipping Guide ‘If you didn’t think it, breathe it or give birth to it – somebody probably delivered it’ making the freight and logistics industry the biggest in the world. Unfortunately, as we know only too well, our business activities therefore attract thieves and con artists and the latest internet scam combines the latest technology with old fashioned criminal brass neck. Road haulage outfits have been victims of a sophisticated truck scam on an unprecedented scale.

The set up is simple, the thieves set up telephone lines in false company names, open virtual offices complete with e mail and fax facilities and begin to scour the internet for sites offering loads and backloads, particularly perishable foodstuffs which obviously need to be moved quickly. Having located suitable loads the villains contact the supplier and convince them of their genuine credentials usually by supplying the names of a real haulage outfit but substituting their false contact details and telling of their trucking history.

Federal officials have released details of numerous crimes of this type last year accounting for almost a million dollars in just a handful of thefts. The preferred target is usually meat, one consignment of beef alone cost the shippers almost $140,000, but other reefer goods such as cheese are acceptable to them. Frequently the drivers and ‘dispatchers’ have foreign accents and so far thefts are known to have occurred the length and breadth of the country from California and Texas up through Idaho and Kansas to Wyoming and Ohio.

Occasionally a thief is captured, late last year two men were stopped at a routine checkpoint where police discovered tape residue on their truck indicating temporary signage may have been affixed. A search revealed more licences than drivers and the two Armenian suspects were arrested after suspicions were raised that they were en route to collect a perishable load.

The message then is simple, if you advertise backloads, no matter in which country you operate; check out any haulier who replies to your ads no matter how genuine they may first appear.