Identity theft refers to the fraudulent acquisition and misuse of a person’s or business’s identity or information for illegal purposes. This type of identity theft can have serious consequences, including financial losses, reputational damage, and legal issues for a carrier.
There are several common methods used to perpetrate identity theft in the trucking industry which we will review further. The first method, fraudulent company formation, refers to when identity thieves may use stolen information, like an MC number, to create fake trucking companies for fuel theft, cargo theft, or to obtain fraudulent loans. Second, falsifying documents like driver’s licenses, insurance certificates, or permits can be used to deceive authorities or clients. Next, hijacking company information, is an activity performed by cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access to a carrier’s computer systems to steal sensitive information. Phishing scams are another common identity theft activity. Thieves can send deceptive emails and phone calls or set up websites that appear legitimate to steal valuable data. Finally, identity theft can occur with the involvement of an insider, such as a current or former employee, who misuses company information for personal gain.
Carriers should consider implementing various preventive measures to safeguard themselves. Educating oneself to raise awareness of various scams and threats is the first step in preventing identity theft. Other worthwhile internal actions include investing in security infrastructure like antivirus and firewall programs, adding two-factor authentication methods, and developing data backup and recovery procedures. Proactively monitoring financial statements, credit reports, and other business records can also help to uncover suspicious or unauthorized activities. Externally, conducting due diligence when working with others in the industry is also important. Conduct a thorough background check to verify legitimacy and reduce the risk of identity theft.
If a carrier becomes a victim, it is crucial to report the incident to law enforcement agencies, such as the local police and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Additionally, Carriers should notify their clients, financial institutions, and relevant authorities to mitigate potential damages and prevent further fraudulent activities.