If you’re shipping electronics out of Southern California, you might want to be extra diligent about vetting your carriers and drivers. Last month, a band of crooks almost got away with an entire truckload of television sets, according to the supply chain visibility and security specialist Overhaul.
The case centered on a fictitious pickup scheme: The shipment was double brokered (basically, subcontracted) to a carrier who had fraudulently assumed the identity of a legitimate carrier. But fortunately for the cargo owner, the thieves made some sloppy mistakes.
When the driver arrived to pick up the shipment, there were a number of red flags, according to Overhaul. For example, the tractor information placard was simply a piece of printed paper taped to the tractor door. Then there was the decidedly unusual choice of a day cab tractor for what was supposed to be a 2,600-mile cross-country trip.
Once Overhaul noticed signs of a possible fraud, it quickly notified the authorized carrier and deployed its local response team, which tracked down the cargo at a warehouse in Chino, California. In coordination with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Office and Chino Police Department, the team made full recovery of the $200,000 truckload of cargo, although the thieves were still at large at press time.Despite the happy ending, Overhaul recommends that shippers double-down on their security precautions in light of the incident. This includes keeping full documentation on a shipment’s journey, such as photos of the operator’s commercial drivers license (CDL), the back of the trailer with seal affixed (seal number visible), tractor and trailer identifying markings and license plates, and bill of lading. Shippers should also be on the lookout for red flags like temporary placards or logo as well as recently painted-over logos, paper or missing license plates, and drivers who don’t resemble their CDL photos.
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