In the beginning of June, we wrote an article on Financial Scams. While these are on the rise in the transportation industry lately, they are not the only type of fraud that exists. Identity theft is another type of fraud that happens regularly to carriers.

Identity theft is an opportunity for scammers in the transportation industry because there are few face-to-face interactions; it can be tricky to verify the identity and credentials of who you do business with.

Here’s some common examples of carrier identity theft:

A scammer uses stolen carrier information that’s easily accessible off the internet (name, address, DOT number, MC number) to impersonate the carrier on a load board. They find a legitimate posted load and contact the broker using your stolen carrier information and say they can move the load. Or, a scammer will search the load board for brokers, and using the carrier’s information, will send those brokers invoices from the carrier, to be deposited on their own accounts.

Identity theft costs carrier companies their reputation; someone is out there impersonating you and your business. In addition, identity theft can cause loss of work and money, if scammers are picking up legitimate loads that the carrier could potentially fill.

So, what are the best ways to prevent identify theft? Here are some tips:

  1. Verify who you are doing business with. If you take a load from someone (shipper, broker, freight forwarder, whoever) make sure the person you are dealing with is legitimate. Obtain a copy of the Broker’s authority and make sure the authority type is licensed to broker and that the date on the authority matches the date on the FMCSA’s website.
  2. Get a copy of the broker’s bond and call to make sure the bond is active.
  3. Run credit checks. You can do this for free websites such as TransCredit.
  4. Match up information. Check phone numbers and contact information carefully. Make sure the phone number the broker is using is the same as what is showing on the FMCSA website. If it isn’t, contact the number from the website and make sure you are working with a legitimate division of that company. Many transportation providers have agent or satellite offices, but the head office listed will always be able to verify information.
  5. Use Google. If the company has ever done anything unlawful, chances are it will be on the internet.
  6. Sign BOLs with your driver name, company name that is on the side of your truck, and MC number at pickup. This will protect you and give you a better chance at recovery if the broker fails to pay you.
  7. Be careful about giving out your information! Verify who you are doing business with before you send out your authority and insurance. This is the easiest way that someone can steal your identity. The more you know before you share your company information, the better able you are to protect yourself. Requesting a broker to send confirmations to truck stops should be avoided as these high traffic areas make it easy for someone else to pick up your paperwork and puts you at a greater risk for identity theft.

Too late? Have you become a victim of identity theft? What You Can Do

Report the incident to your local police department. Unfortunately, historical experiences indicate that the police can do little about the incident; Still, request a copy of the report in case something does come out of it.

Contact all load boards you are signed up with and have them flag your account so that a broker or shipper will know that they need to check further if they are contacted by you or someone misrepresenting you.

Benefits of Dealing with Reputable Brokers

Reputable brokers use TIA’s carrier qualification process. You will be checked. Ratings, insurance, MC number, years in business, number of trucks and background checks are standard, and all performed to protect all interested parties.

The best brokers have great bonds. Minimum broker bond requirements $75,000. But, dealing with companies such as UWT whose bonds are $100,000 and above ensures you that the company is fully funded, current, and in full compliance with all FMCSA Regulations.

For more information or answers to specific questions related to identity theft, visit the TIA’s website, or contact us today.

Don’t Be a Victim of Identity Theft! 7 Theft Prevention Tips You Need to Know was last modified: by