Cargo theft incidents rose 59% in third quarter

CargoNet says thieves increasing use of shipment misdirection attacks, delivering freight away from the intended receiver.

Freight theft continued to climb in the third quarter, posting a 59% increase over the same period last year to 692 events across the United States and Canada that totaled over $31.1 million in shipments, according to stats from CargoNet.

Like in the second quarter of 2023, much of the increase was due to ongoing shipment misdirection attacks, a kind of strategic cargo theft in which actors use stolen motor carrier and logistics broker identities to obtain freight and misdirect it from the intended receiver so they could steal it, the New Jersey firm said.

In addition, “strategic cargo theft groups” continue to pioneer new methods of strategic cargo theft that seek to evade common compliance practices used by logistics brokers, CargoNet warned. Such groups have shown keen interest in perpetrating fraud against small motor carriers or owner/operators with the intent of hijacking their accounts or convincing them to solicit shipments from logistics brokers on their behalf, thus seeking to evade the identity theft checks a logistics broker may do prior to tendering a shipment.

During the third quarter of 2023, reported thefts increased in every event category. 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. These kinds of thefts were most common in California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Illinois.

In CargoNet’s forecast, there is no indication that cargo theft activity will slow during the fourth quarter in the domestic U.S. In fact, the report cautioned that strategic cargo theft rings have typically picked up activity around holiday periods. They have also 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.

Source: Supply Chain Quarterly

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