In the fast-paced world of logistics and shipping, the industry has evolved significantly with the integration of technology, globalization, and e-commerce. However, along with these advancements come new challenges, and one of the most concerning issues is the rise of shipping scams.
Shipping Scams that Brokers/Carriers Need to Avoid
Protecting yourself from shipping scams is crucial in the logistics industry, as scams can lead to financial losses, damage to your reputation, and legal issues. To safeguard yourself from shipping scams you need to know about different types of shipping scams. So, let’s go.
Fraudulent Payment Scams: Fraudsters pose as customers and make payments with stolen credit cards or fake checks. They may request a refund or ask you to forward part of the payment to a different account. So, verify customer information, scrutinize payment methods, and be cautious with large or unusual payment requests to avoid shipping scams.
Cargo Theft: Criminals steal cargo during transit or when it’s temporarily stored. This can lead to significant financial losses as you may have to pay for the commodity lost. Implement strict security measures, including GPS tracking, secure storage facilities, and thorough employee background checks of the carrier you employ to haul the load.
Misrepresentation of Goods: Shippers or customers misrepresent the value of goods to secure lower shipping rates or avoid customs duties. Validate the accuracy of cargo descriptions and conduct due diligence on clients to ensure they are reputable.
Load Board Scams: Fraudsters act as shippers and advertise non-existent loads or equipment on load boards. They then ask for upfront fees for running a background check, doing insurance verification or other shipping related expenses. Once the payment is made, they vanish in thin air, not responding to calls or emails. It can lead to carriers getting duped of their money, wasting their time and being unable to book genuine loads.
Shipping Scams that Shippers Need to Avoid
As fraudulent activities are rising in the transportation and logistics industry, it is important to reduce the risk of falling victim to shipping scams. If shippers are aware of various shipping scams, then only they can protect their goods, finances, and personal information. Here are some common shipping scams that shippers need to avoid:
Double-Brokerage: It involves a broker subcontracting another broker or carrier without the shipper’s knowledge or consent to transport shipper’s goods. This can lead to service disruptions, potential cargo loss and even increased costs for shippers.
Fake Bills of Loading: Scammers create fake bills of loading to take possession of cargo without authorization. They then harass shippers to pay them exorbitant amounts of money for their goods.
Identity Theft: Fraudsters may get their hand on your personal information, card information and bank details by posing as a legitimate broker or carrier who needs to be paid for the load they hauled for you. They may then use this information to dupe other people or promise them payment through your bank or card.
How to Protect Yourself from Scams?
Protecting yourself from scams in the logistics industry requires a combination of vigilance, awareness, and robust security measures. Here are some steps you can take to safeguard your business and yourself from scams:
Educate Your Team: Train your employees about common scams and warning signs. Ensure they know the potential risks and know how to recognize suspicious activities. They can also be educated about combating situations where they feel the risk of a scam. Further, they should follow stringent security measures and rigorous authentication processes.
Verify Brokers or Carriers: As a shipper, thoroughly vet your potential partners before entering into any business partnership. Check their MC number, insurance, and whether there were any claims against them. If there are many claims, then it is a red flag, and you better think of hiring another carrier. Also, ensure they have a legitimate and established presence in the industry.
Use Secure Communication Channels: Whether you are a broker, carrier or shipper, encourage your team to use secure email and communication platforms. Only email through your official email, and if you receive an email from a potential carrier wanting to haul a load, verify their email address and phone number by checking their insurance and MC number details on the SAFER FMCSA website. You can also double check the number by calling the number and getting confirmation from the person on the other end of the call.
Cross-Check Documentation & Implement Strict Verification Procedures: All brokers or carriers need to verify all shipping documents, such as bills of lading, certificates of origin, and customs documents, with the relevant authorities and cross-check them with the shipper’s information.
They can also develop and enforce stringent verification processes for payments, invoices, and documentation. Double-check all information before processing transactions.
Use Reputable Carriers and Brokerage Service Providers: Shippers can choose established and reputable carriers, freight forwarders, and logistics company in US. Research their track record and reviews to ensure reliability. You can also ensure that the carrier you choose implements tracking systems and uses tamper-evident seals to secure cargo.
Report Suspicious Activities: If you encounter suspicious activities or believe a scam has targeted you, report it to the appropriate authorities and industry organizations. Reporting can help prevent further fraudulent activities. It will not only save you from fraud but may assist in avoiding further fraud.
In the logistics industry, vigilance and awareness are key to avoiding scams. By staying aware of potential logistic shipping scams and implementing the tips we talked about, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to scams in the logistics industry. Is there any scam that we haven’t covered? Do let us know in the comments below.