Strategic Tactics Drive Cargo Theft Rise | Green-Go Trucker Show

Shipment misdirection attacks, in particular, have emerged as a major contributor to the rise in theft incidents, as criminals cunningly exploit legitimate processes like load boards to illicitly obtain and launder stolen cargo

Green-go Trucker 04/08/2023 Matthew Gossett*
Screenshot 2023-08-04 at 8.44.53 PM
"Don't mess with my truck" LLL, 2023


CargoNet's latest report has unveiled a troubling trend in the trucking industry, with a staggering 57% surge in "supply chain risk events" in North America during the second quarter. This sharp increase in cargo theft is attributed to criminals adopting sophisticated and strategic tactics to defraud the system. Shipment misdirection attacks, in particular, have emerged as a major contributor to the rise in theft incidents, as criminals cunningly exploit legitimate processes like load boards to illicitly obtain and launder stolen cargo.

Overview of Cargo Theft Increase 

According to Verisk Analytics' CargoNet, a shocking 582 cargo theft incidents occurred in North America during Q2, resulting in the loss of over $44 million worth of shipments. The increase is partly attributed to shipment misdirection attacks, a strategic approach wherein criminals manipulate the system to deceive and steal. What is even more alarming is the involvement of organized crime groups, making this a global problem that requires urgent attention.

Shipment Misdirection Attacks

In these audacious attacks, criminals masquerade as legitimate motor carriers or logistics brokers to gain access to valuable cargo loads. They then cleverly reintroduce the stolen goods back onto load boards, passing them through multiple drivers and warehouses to launder their origins. This elaborate process generates warehouse receipts and legitimate bills of lading to conceal the true source of the stolen cargo.

Statistics and Trends

While there was a 14% year-on-year decrease in cargo theft incidents during the first quarter, there was an unexpected 11% rise from the previous quarter, as per Overhaul's findings. The most targeted types of cargo continue to be electronics, food, and beverages. Equally concerning is that these strategic thefts are no longer confined to Southern California; they have spread to other geographical areas as well.

Challenges in Combating Strategic Theft
The elusive nature of strategic theft poses formidable challenges for law enforcement. As criminals operate from a distance using online methods, apprehending them becomes a daunting task. Truckstop's "Fraud Prevention Friday" initiative aims to combat cargo theft through information sharing, but a more comprehensive approach is needed.

Contributing Factors to Cargo Theft Increase

Low freight rates and cargo scarcity contribute to carriers being less vigilant in scrutinizing potential loads. Exploiting this situation, criminals post fraudulent loads with higher per-mile rates, luring unsuspecting carriers into their web of deceit.

Industry Response and Future Outlook

Total Quality Logistics highlights the growing prevalence of cybercriminals conducting strategic cargo theft online. The industry must allocate adequate resources to identify and combat these criminal attempts effectively. While California remains a hotspot for cargo theft, the worrying trend is that the activity is rapidly spreading to other states.


Cargo theft incidents are on the rise, propelled by the implementation of strategic tactics by highly sophisticated criminals. The trucking industry faces significant challenges in tackling this issue due to its global and technologically advanced nature. To effectively counter cargo theft, collaborative efforts, robust information sharing, and enhanced security measures are imperative. Only through a united front can the industry safeguard its valuable shipments from the clutches of these cunning criminals.

*Matthew Gossett has carved a unique path as an author and content creator with a substantial digital footprint. Author of the book "The No Diet Transformation", which is available on Amazon. His journey of expression and connection with others led him to establish several YouTube channels, where he shares his insights on a range of subjects. Among these, "Quotivational" has become a platform for inspiring quotations, motivational videos, and positive thoughts. He attributes his values of humility, resilience, and community spirit to his upbringing, and he cherishes the support of his friends, family, and local community.

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