The threat of cargo theft activity this Thanksgiving is “extremely high” and “unlike any recent year,” according to CargoNet.
CargoNet, a Verisk product, has tracked a sharp increase in year-over-year theft reports. Since November 2022, the average number of reports filed per week has jumped to 51 — a 64% increase compared to data between January 2012 and October 2022.
Recent numbers are even higher.
Per a press release, between Oct. 1 and Nov. 11, CargoNet recorded an average of 66 reports per week.
“Strategic cargo theft groups over the past year have shown that they ramp up activity around major holidays because they understand logistics brokers will be under pressure and more likely to make mistakes,” the press release said. “CargoNet is concerned recent spikes in theft of unattended, loaded conveyances, particularly in Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Southern California will continue into the holiday.”
Strategic Cargo Theft Threat
CargoNet has recorded 433 new theft events since October — a 101% increase year-over-year. Cargo thefts or fictitious pickups and identity fraud reports made up 35% of reported crimes in that time. Fifty-six percent of the strategic cargo thefts were in California.
While strategic cargo thefts happened across the Golden State, they were most frequent in the counties of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange. The most frequently stolen goods were alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, motor oils, auto parts, apparel, solar energy generation items and nutritional supplements.
The press release said organized crime groups seek to obtain a load tender in one of the following ways:
- Outright impersonating a legitimate motor carrier.
- Using an authority they have registered or have been given access to.
- Deceiving a motor carrier into giving them the credentials to vital accounts.
CargoNet reported a recent wave of strategic cargo thefts in which criminals represented themselves as an outsourced dispatch service. They were hired by multiple motor carriers and gained access to their emails, load board accounts and FMCSA accounts to effectively hijack the authority and use it to get load tenders and steal truckload shipments, the release said.
“The criminals appeared to be legitimate representatives of the motor carriers to their victims because they were communicating via official accounts,” CargoNet shared in the press release. “Logistics brokers should be on alert for these strategies this upcoming holiday. If a load tender is emailed to a potential cargo thief, it is imperative to change the pickup information with the shipper to prevent theft of the shipment.”
Full Truckload Threat
Since October, CargoNet has tracked an increase in theft of unattended, loaded conveyances across the United States. Unattended freight is at high risk this holiday because of the likelihood it will be left unattended and unmonitored for several days before a driver returns to complete delivery, CargoNet reported.
Truckload theft rings have focused on shipments of major appliances, small appliances, non-alcoholic beverages, ATVs and construction equipment. Thefts have been especially common in the following areas:
- Dallas-Fort Worth, particularly along South Freeway at the Interstate 20 and Interstate 35W intersections in Fort Worth.
- The Atlanta metro area, particularly around Tucker and Stone Mountain and South Fulton, Fairburn and Palmetto.
- Florida, in major freight hubs like Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Miami.
- Southern California, especially in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
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