Fraudulent theft of truck consignments
(phantom carriers)

Loss prevention tips

[German version]

2 Entering into a business relationship

The criminal activities described are increasingly being used successfully by organized gangs to fraudulently obtain as many truck consignments as possible with one „phantom carrier“. Special care must therefore be taken to check the reliability of the new partners when first entering into a business relationship.

To this end, the transport company should, for instance, be required to provide the following documentary evidence in order to establish confidence:

references relating to completed transport contracts,
confirmation of insurance,
licenses and approvals,
full company data including extract from the commercial register,
color copy of the personal identification document or passport of the managing director as entered in the commercial register as proof of identity.

If any of the documents are not sufficiently legible or are not plausible, the customer should insist that correct documentation is presented or should not award the contract.

The offenders will often present forged documents. This means that the genuineness of any documents presented should be checked. When checking the references, it should be established whether the transport contracts were fulfilled as described in the references.

Furthermore, the confirmation of insurance should be checked and confirmed by the insurer. Company data such as the following can be checked using a credit bureau or by making inquiries with the relevant registers:

registered office,
phone number,
fax number,
e-mail address,
official Web site,
business license number,
commercial register number,
VAT identification number,
bank details

and all these items can be compared for plausibility.

The VAT identification number can also be used to check the registered office using the VAT information exchange system of the European Union.

Depending on where the transport company is headquartered, other country-specific information can be used for checking purposes:

transport license database (validity, operator, vehicles, traffic manager, contact person, number of licenses),
lists of hauliers,
offices of the green card agencies (license plate queries).

The plausibility of the e-mail address and the official Web sites should be checked along with the phone and fax numbers.

The customer should also use the extract from the commercial register to check how long the transport company has been trading and whether there has been a recent change of ownership. Information with regard to the solvency of the transport company is also important. Such information can be provided by credit bureaus, for instance.

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