Fraudulent theft of truck consignments
(phantom carriers)

Loss prevention tips

[German version]

These tips on loss prevention are not binding. They have been drafted in order to protect high-value truck consignments from fraudulent theft. In individual cases, insurers can accept or require other measures that do not conform to the proposals described here.

Criminals are increasingly focusing on the fraudulent theft of truck consignments. The groups of offenders do this by fraudulently acquiring regular freight contracts. When the perpetrators take charge of the goods, everything initially appears to be a perfectly normal transport operation. As soon as they have taken charge of the consignment with the intention of fraudulent theft, the transport contract will not be fulfilled. The goods do not reach their intended recipient, but are instead sold elsewhere. By this time at the latest, all trace has been lost of the ostensible business partner. It is not only one-off contracts that are affected, but also repeat contracts that have a correspondingly higher loss potential.

The apparent circumstances of the loss initially indicate embezzlement, which often incorrectly leads to investigations in respect of embezzlement being opened. This has a direct impact on the activities of the police at the scene of the crime (loading bay) and hinders effective, cross-border police investigations. The sheer dimensions of the crimes and the logistics required for storing and passing on („fencing“) the goods mean that it is often organized gangs that are behind them.

As a rule, the perpetrators concentrate on high-value goods and goods that are not difficult to dispose of profitably. The loss is generally massive. These are some of the methods used by the perpetrators in order to acquire contracts:

They pretend (identity theft) to work for well known freight carriers/haulage contractors (transport companies),
they establish bogus companies or
they purchase established transport companies, including access to freight exchange sites, documents and references.

That will suffice as an introduction to the main modi operandi. And increasingly, offenders adapt to preventive measures as they identify them.

Initial contact with potential clients is generally made via mobile phone, e-mail or online marketplaces such as freight exchange sites.

The criminals disguise their activities well. It is nevertheless possible to deploy a number of relatively simple measures to prevent the type of transport loss described here. The objective is always to make sure of the integrity and reliability of any potential business partners. This makes it possible to distinguish any black sheep from the reliable transport companies. In particular if you are intending to establish new business contacts, it is crucial to subject the potential business partner to a rigorous examination.

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