In a previous blog, we discussed the rising number of people using the identities of others online in order to start an online relationship, or “catfish” the person into dating them. Lately, there has been a number of truck drivers having their identities stolen, as well as their cargo. Thieves pose as truck drivers, receive the cargo and drive away with thousands of dollars worth of cargo, including food, clothing and drinks. The merchandise is then sold on the Black Market, and is hard to trace.
This form of identity theft has become increasingly popular and at a quick rate; there is a fear that this will become the most frequent way to steal freight. Before, thieves would steal freight while it was in a parking lot and the driver was away. But with the growing technology in the shipping industry, such as advanced locking systems and high tech GPS devices, sealing cargo became more difficult.
Some experts say the internet has been a major driver in the rise of this type of theft because of the abundance of information that is available and can be communicated. Con men are allowed to research and find the identities of truck drivers, and assume their identity. For as little as $300, an individual can find the identity of a freight shipment employee who has been dormant in the Department of Transportation website, and reactivate the account. They can also choose individuals which good standing records and a firm establishment in a company to appear more trustworthy.
Before 1998, “false impersonation” was not a high level crime. Since Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998, identity theft is now considered a federal crime as stated: “…knowingly transfer or use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law.” (http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/itada/itadact.htm)
A growing number of merchandise and food going missing can cause a dilemma for those who are expecting and selling the items. This is especially important with food deliveries. Shipments of meat pose a health risk if they do not make it to their destinations on time. The food can spoil and make those who buy it sick.
Identity theft has been a growing problem, and protecting people from this happening to them is important when it comes to developing and passing more laws and regulations. Some say drivers should use thumbprint verification systems to ensure the safety of the cargo being shipped by the correct individual. Watching how law makers deal with this new trend of stealing cargo will be interesting as they work to better the lives of employees and consumers.
Do you have any suggestions for how trucker identity theft should be handled?