How to Prevent Cargo Theft in Transportation Industry

Cargo theft tactics are rapidly evolving within the transportation industry, targeting commodities sold easily on the black market. Thieves use every opportunity to take advantage of vulnerabilities. Watch out for these cargo theft tactics to implement steps to prevent them.

The Grounds of Cargo Theft

Cargo can be physically stolen from its location, which is known as “straight theft,” where thieves are looking for whatever they can steal and sell quickly. Where cargo could be left unattended, such as in parking lots, thieves may be lurking. Trailers lacking security are easy targets. Shippers and carriers should take a layered approach to security with policies such as always ensuring the trailer is attended and using high-security rear door locks and air cuff locks. Consider installing landing gear locks as well. Augusta transportation insurance is a crucial component of the safety plan and protects the company assets.

Strategic Cargo Theft

Strategic cargo theft can involve unconventional methods, such as the use of fraud and deceptive information intended to trick shippers, brokers, and carriers to give the load to the thieves instead of the legitimate carrier. They could do this using identity theft, fictitious pick-ups, and double brokering scams. Thieves have even posted false loads to solicit bids and receive the information they need for a company’s identity.

Consistent and thorough vetting practices of any carrier or broker you are doing business with are so important. Research contact information and company information thoroughly. Having a close working relationship with shippers is helpful to confirm positive identification of drivers and other pick-up information. You can even contact your customers and business partners if something seems suspicious throughout the process.

Technology & Cyber Threats

“Sniffers” devices are being used by thieves to detect covert GPS technology, even those embedded within a trailer. With a detected device, they can use a GPS jammer to block that technology so law enforcement can not use it to locate stolen goods. Cyber-attacks like phishing emails may be sent in an attempt to install malware to get into a company’s system and grant access to sensitive data such as delivery information. Strong cybersecurity may prevent many of these attacks. Assess your website and the information available to the public. Is contact information for key people important to have readily available, or is common contact sufficient? Are you putting the identity of customers out there or referencing specific products handled? Protecting online identity can be as important as securing the physical operation.


It can be difficult to detect this type of theft because the drivers may not realize it until after they have reached the point of delivery while making multiple stops along the route. When drivers are unsure of where the theft occurred, police reports may not be applicable. It is helpful to require drivers to inspect trucks after every stop, checking the trailer doors and seals to identify signs of theft. It is also advised to use high-security rear door locks or padlocks to deter thieves. There are even cargo theft monitors these days that can collect theft data, which can help you avoid theft-prone routes and sued for law enforcement purposes to identify high-risk areas better and locate stolen goods.

Internal Processes and Procedures

Regular training and awareness from drivers to warehouse workers are needed to recognize, prevent and report cargo theft techniques. It is best to use a layered cargo security program that goes over company security processes and procedures, the use of security devices (locks, seal, etc.), how to leverage technology, and the enforcement of cyber-security to prevent access to key information.

About Provident Protection Plus

At Provident Protection Plus, we have served the businesses and residents of New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania for more than 65 years. We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Provident Bank, the region’s premier banking institution, and we are prepared to offer you personal, business, employee benefits, and risk management solutions. To learn more about our coverage options, contact our specialists today at (888) 990-0526.