5 Signs You’re About to Be Robbed This Weekend

The long weekend is here, and with it, an increase in freight theft. According to data collected by CargoNet, the Labor Day weekend has seen a rise in freight theft for the last 4 years with an average loss of $243,908. In fact, 45% of all reported cargo thefts occur on weekends. On holiday weekends, distribution centers are understaffed and organizations let down their guard – a perfect time for thieves to strike.

Be on the lookout for suspicious activity this weekend. Here are 5 signs a freight thief might be targeting you.

A new carrier is late with a load

The scenario: you’re expecting a load from a new carrier, and it should have arrived by now. You call the carrier for a status update, and find out that the driver is broken down a couple hours away. The carrier keeps you updated on their status throughout the day.  The next day, the load still hasn’t arrived – and now the carrier won’t return your calls. You report the load missing, but a full day has passed and the thief is gone.

A situation similar to this was a case study reported in TIA’s Framework to Combat Fraud. The way to prevent this situation is with thorough background checks on all new carriers. But beware of any delays from new carriers this weekend.

A driver calls to say he’ll be early

The scenario: you’re expecting a driver to arrive at 2:00 pm to pick up a load. But that morning you get a call from the driver saying that he’ll be a few hours early, and requests that have the load ready for his noon arrival.

Then he picks up the load at noon. Two hours later, the legitimate driver pulls up, and the thief is long gone with your load.

The “fictitious pickup” is a common strategy. If a driver claims to be early, call your broker or carrier directly to confirm. (And look up the number yourself – don’t call any number provided by the driver.) Confirm that the license plate of the driver is the same as the one provided by the carrier, and contact authorities immediately if they don’t match.

Constant false alarms from your alarm system

The scenario: Your alarm keeps going off, but whenever you check it, it’s a false alarm. The police come out but nothing is happening. After a number of false alarms, you realize the system is malfunctioning so you turn it off or disregard the alarm signals. And that’s when you get robbed.

CargoNet reports that thieves often trip your alarm system repeatedly before a break-in to make you believe that your alarm system is malfunctioning. Pay attention to all alarm signals, especially around a long weekend.

A driver has placards taped onto the tractor

Shippers should refuse any driver with placards taped onto the tractor. TIA warns, “This should be an immediate red flag.” Shippers should also check for placards with removable nut and bolt attachments instead of safety nut assembly.

Parked cars near your warehouse

Keep an eye out for anything unusual, such as unfamiliar parked cars or vans near your warehouse – you may be under surveillance by freight thieves. Also be on the lookout for anyone unfamiliar in or around the warehouse. Distribution centers are often understaffed on long weekends, so make sure your staff knows the need to be extra vigilant during these times.

For more information on cargo theft, read our post: Preventing Cargo Theft Due to Fraud