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Shipment misdirection attacks are the top cause of a record increase in cargo theft in the second quarter of 2023, jumping 57 percent over the same period last year.

There were 582 recorded cargo theft events across the United States and Canada in the second quarter of 2023, a substantial increase when compared to the second quarter of 2022.

Shipment misdirection is a strategic cargo theft where stolen motor carrier and logistics broker identities are used to obtain freight and misdirect it from the intended receiver.

Thieves stole over $44 million in shipments in the second quarter of 2023.

The average shipment value per event increased nearly $100,000 to $260,703 per theft, as cargo thieves focused on high-value shipments.

During the second quarter of 2023, theft of a loaded conveyance, such as a full trailer increased 17 percent year-over-year. The theft was most common in California, Texas, Florida and Illinois. Regional activity around New York City and Philadelphia was also significant.

Burglary of a loaded conveyance decreased slightly year-over-year due to the impact of recent law enforcement activity, though it still remains a significant threat to shipments especially high-value shipments that are traveling on the I-40 corridor through Arizona, California and New Mexico.

Extortion and theft by conversion schemes increased significantly, particularly from organized groups in Illinois and California. The groups focus on obtaining shipments from logistics brokers, tacking on extra and often exorbitant fees for various manufactured reasons like overweight tickets or previous rate penalties charged to non-affiliated motor carriers. Criminal enforcement is rare due to the complexity emboldening organized groups.

CargoNet recorded 127 more fictitious pickups year-over-year. Fictitious pickups were most common in the Los Angeles Metro Area, but fictitious pickups occurred all over the continental United States. Some counties recorded a significant problem due to their local industry like Maricopa County, Ariz., Travis County, Texas, Chambers County, Texas, and DeKalb County, Ga.

Fictitious pickup groups stole shipments from 39 different product categories in the second quarter of 2023, but primarily focused efforts on a smaller grouping of freight. This includes alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, specifically soda and energy drinks, solar power energy generation equipment, and various kinds of automobile supplies including auto parts, fluids, oils and tires.

This type of fictitious cargo pickup relies heavily on subcontracting the shipment to a legitimate motor carrier and having the shipment misdirected to another address.

CargoNet recommended logistics brokers and shippers verify bids on shipments with the motor carrier through their contact information on file with the FMCSA and by verifying the name of the motor carrier and driver matches who the shipment was tendered to in order to limit these types of schemes.

Motor carriers should be wary of new customers that want them to haul a blind shipment delivering to an address different from the bill of lading, especially if the address is a public warehouse or cross dock in California, the cargo theft prevention network added.