Cargo Thefts Up 59%, Misdirection Top Threat: CargoNet

February 5, 2024

There were 692 reported thefts of cargo across the United States and Canada in the third quarter of 2023, a 59% increase when compared to the third quarter of 2022, according to CargoNet.

Similar to the second quarter of 2023, much of the increase is due to ongoing shipment misdirection attacks, in which thieves use stolen motor carrier and logistics broker identities to obtain freight and misdirect it from the intended receiver.

Cargo thieves stole over $31.1 million in shipments in the third quarter of 2023, the cargo theft tracking company said.

Reported thefts increased in every category during the third quarter of 2023.

Documented strategic cargo theft events increased 430% year-over-year and theft of a loaded conveyance such as a full trailer increased 4% year-over-year, the data indicated.

Certain states recorded the most thefts, including California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Illinois.

CargoNet also recorded a significant increase in the “other” category, which combines several categories of reports like identity theft complaints, hostage loads, late shipment complaints, and other kinds of criminal intelligence records.

Strategic cargo theft groups have widened their preferred commodity targets to include truckload shipments of metal like copper, brass and aluminum; apparel — especially officially licensed sports apparel; and shipments of personal care and beauty products, the company said.

CargoNet warns that thieves continue to pioneer new methods of strategic cargo theft seeking to evade compliance practices used by logistics brokers.

Strategic cargo theft groups have shown keen interest in perpetrating fraud against small motor carriers or owner/operators with intent of hijacking their accounts or convincing them to solicit shipments from logistics brokers on their behalf, the company added.

Both strategies seek to evade identity theft checks a logistics broker may do prior to tendering a shipment.

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