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  January 17th, 2023 | Written by

Fraud is the Biggest Threat to Cargo Losses

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Criminal fraud in its many and various manifestations within the global supply chain is seen by International freight transport insurer TT Club as a primary and growing threat.  Carrier fraud in particular is a dominant occurrence. Renewed vigilance is required and encouraged by the insurer.

The almost exclusive use of online facilities to process business transactions allows a myriad of fraudulent pursuits to find opportunities within the complexities of the global supply chain. These have many manifestations; from payment fraud that involves existing mandates and impersonation of executives to procurement fraud featuring false invoicing.

Carrier fraud, in which criminals imitate hauliers and other sub-contractors, including drivers with falsified documents, accounted for 84% of TT claims involving fraud or deception in 2022. TT is eager to pinpoint these risks and offer advice to industry on how to not just identify potential fraud but to minimize and avoid losses through them.

TT has produced significant resources* to assist operators to shield themselves from fraudulent activities as it sees 15% of its cargo theft claims arise from fraud or deception.  Specific examples include the intentional submission of false invoices purportedly from an established supplier but actually generated by a fraudster infiltrating the online payment system and duplicated or inflated invoices. Other cases, falling into the category of mandate fraud, experience criminal deception by manipulation of bank transfer details by a fraudster pretending to be an organisation paid regularly by the operator by hacking into the victim’s email traffic and imitating a genuine supplier alter bank transfer details for payment of a legitimate invoice.

TT found however that carrier fraud dominated its claims of this type last year.  There are instances of fake carriers intercepting haulage instructions from forwarders or shippers and posing as the authentic carrier; also falsifying cargo pick-up or delivery documentation to steal loads.

One common tactic is where fraudsters pose as a forwarders using a freight exchange site and provide false instructions to a driver. They match a legitimate haulier to a shipper, facilitating the movement of goods. The fraudster then acts as a ‘middle man’ between these two legitimate companies, arranging the collection and directing the driver. Once the trucker has collected the goods, the fraudster provides new instructions to deliver to an alternative address where the cargo is stolen.

These are but samples of the various modus operandi employed by those intent of defrauding supply chain businesses. TT is determined to maintain a flow of information designed to help the industry combat such practices and to underline both their extent and devious nature in order to reduce financial losses and further disruption to fragile supply chains.

About TT Club

TT Club is the established market-leading independent provider of mutual insurance and related risk management services to the international transport and logistics industry. TT Club’s primary objective is to help make the industry safer and more secure. Founded in 1968, the Club has more than 1,100 Members, spanning container owners and operators, ports and terminals, and logistics companies, working across maritime, road, rail, and air. TT Club is renowned for its high-quality service, in-depth industry knowledge and enduring Member loyalty. It retains more than 93% of its Members with a third of its entire membership having chosen to insure with the Club for 20 years or more.