It is estimated that at least $800 million of freight payments are being double brokered annually. According to the Wall Street Journal, complaints about fraud, including double brokering, jumped 400% in the fourth quarter of 2022 from the same period the year before to the highest level since 2004.
Last week, the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) voiced its concerns to Congress as Jeffrey Tucker, CEO of Tucker Company Worldwide, testified on TIA's behalf, emphasizing the urgent need for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to tackle this rampant issue.
According to Freight Caviar, Tucker's testimony emphasized the surge in fraudulent actors, posing as legitimate carriers or brokers, committing theft, and even holding freight hostage. He criticized the FMCSA for their lack of action on the tens of thousands of fraud complaints, stating, “FMCSA must stop dabbling in non-safety commercial considerations... Instead, focus on safety.”
The logistics industry is facing an escalating challenge with the rise of fraud, especially in the digital age. This phenomenon, long present in the sector, has taken on a new form with the advent of technology, leading to sophisticated methods of cybercrime.
The Evolution of Fraud in Logistics
Historically, fraud in logistics involved physical theft and tampering. Today, however, the threat landscape has shifted dramatically. The digitalization of logistics has opened new avenues for fraud, transitioning from physical theft at truck stops to electronic manipulation of freight payments and cargo deliveries. This new face of fraud is characterized by its scale and sophistication, posing significant risks to the integrity and efficiency of supply chains.
As logistics increasingly relies on digital platforms, it becomes more vulnerable to cybercriminals. These perpetrators exploit digital vulnerabilities to divert freight and intercept payments. During Episode 23 of Banyan Technology’s Tire Tracks® podcast, Truckstop’s Chief Relationship Officer Brent Hutto highlights this shift.
“As the industry has become more automated, it has allowed more cybercrime to occur. The scale of fraud is not just physical anymore; it’s electronic, and it's at a bigger scale,” he said.
Proactive Measures Against Fraud
In response to these growing threats, the industry has begun implementing more robust measures. Education initiatives and awareness campaigns about fraud risks and prevention strategies are becoming more common. Furthermore, logistics companies are increasingly adopting advanced security systems, including dual-factor authentication and rigorous credentialing, to ensure the legitimacy of entities within the logistics chain.
Combating fraud in logistics is an ongoing effort. As security systems become more sophisticated, so do the methods of those committing fraudulent acts. Hutto describes this as a constant effort to “plug one hole, only for another to be drilled.” This ongoing battle requires the industry to remain vigilant, continuously updating and refining security measures.
Top 5 Ways to Reduce Fraud in Logistics
Reducing fraud in logistics is crucial for maintaining the integrity and efficiency of supply chains. Here are five effective strategies:
- Implement Robust Tracking Systems: Utilize advanced tracking systems like GPS and RFID to monitor the movement of goods. This not only helps in real-time tracking but also in maintaining a record of the journey of goods, making it harder for fraudulent activities to go unnoticed.
- Enhanced Background Checks and Employee Training: Rigorous background checks during the hiring process can help in employing trustworthy personnel. Regular training on ethics, fraud awareness, and the importance of vigilance can empower employees to identify and report suspicious activities.
- Adopt Advanced Technology for Verification: Use technologies like blockchain for keeping immutable records of transactions and the movement of goods. Blockchain can significantly reduce the risk of tampering, duplication, or fraud. Additionally, employing AI and machine learning for predictive analytics can help in identifying potential fraud patterns.
- Regular Audits and Compliance Checks: Conducting frequent audits of inventory, financial transactions, and compliance with company policies can deter fraudulent activities. External audits can also provide an unbiased view of the company’s operations, helping in identifying vulnerabilities.
- Strengthen Vendor and Partner Vetting Processes: Establish stringent criteria for selecting vendors and partners. Continuous monitoring and evaluation of existing vendors and conducting regular due diligence checks are essential. Building strong relationships based on transparency and mutual trust can also play a significant role in reducing fraud risks.
Implementing these measures requires a combination of technological investment, employee training, and process management. While it's challenging to completely eliminate fraud, these steps can significantly reduce its likelihood and impact.
Multi-Faceted Approach to Addressing Fraud
Addressing the issue of fraud in the logistics industry requires a multi-faceted approach, including advanced security measures, continuous education, and a proactive stance.
“Staying ahead of fraudsters is not just an option, but a necessity for survival and success in the logistics industry,” said Hutto. Ensuring security in logistics is not just a defensive strategy, but a fundamental component of industry success and longevity.
Enhanced Visibility for Mitigating Fraud
Banyan Technology, the leading provider of freight execution software for real-time rating and execution of all OTR shipments, not only has comprehensive features in our LIVE Connect® shipping software, but we have the visibility you need to reduce fraud in your shipping operations.
Banyan’s Business Intelligence Suite powered by LIVE Connect’s shipping data adds a robust reporting feature that adds powerful visibility through historical data and offers insight into carrier and lane activity. Shippers, 3PLs and brokers use this data to reduce errors and eliminate the potential for fraud.
More recent features added to the LIVE Connect software include:
- Freight Bill Management: Our Freight Bill Management tool automates the freight charge validation process by bringing together all your freight bills into one easy-to-use interface to quickly find and rectify variations and duplicate bills.
- Utilizing AI to Predict Truckload Pricing: Banyan’s Truckload AI by Greenscreens.ai functionality allows 3PLs to respond to customers’ Truckload freight requests more quickly and with more accuracy than ever before through the power of predictive pricing.
- Nearshoring Advantage: With services throughout North America, Banyan’s expanded Mexico coverage streamlines complex cross-border and intra-Mexico shipping for Shippers, 3PLs and brokers and 3PLs.
Contact Banyan Technology today to learn more about how our software can help you manage freight costs and eliminate risks.