August 22, 2023

Check Call: Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!


Welcome to Check Call, our corner of the internet for all things 3PL, freight broker and supply chain. Check Call the podcast comes out every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Catch up on previous episodes here. If this was forwarded to you, sign up for Check Call the newsletter here.

In this edition: Identity theft for freight brokerages on the rise, Brake Safety Week is upon us, and the battle for terminals heats up.

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Identity theft and fraud are running rampant through the 3PL and brokerage space right now. In 2022, cargo theft increased 20%, with the biggest hit coming in the fourth quarter as a $223 million total loss was reported. Not only is actual cargo theft on the rise, but identity theft is creeping up to become a massive problem as well. 

A story in Overdrive Online told the tale of someone using a false Department of Transportation number to get a reefer load. When the insurance amounts didn’t line up, the broker found out the owner of the actual DOT number didn’t have any record of the load or any reefer trucks.

Willie Taylor, director of assurance and data management at, said, “I’d see maybe one a month in terms of cases reported by board users. We’re seeing two to three a week now, and we’re working them as fast as we can.”

If you’ve found yourself on the bad side of identity theft, it’s crucial to notify your banking institutions, credit card companies — anything to do with finances. Not only that but file a police report. Not much can be done but it might be necessary for insurance purposes. The most important thing, though, is to contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration so it can shut down or monitor those fraudulent FMSCA numbers.

To avoid getting caught up in a scheme, try to limit the exposure. If it’s a carrier you’ve worked with before but something seems off, call your main point of contact to verify any questionable information. Someone with nefarious intentions could be posing as a new guy at the office.

The biggest red flag is anything to do with banking. If you get a note that a carrier is changing its banking information, call the point of contact with that carrier or its main line to verify. More often than not, the company will be extremely surprised by the call and realize it is a victim of fraud.

It’s only going to get worse before it gets better, but constant vigilance is the key to making it out the other side unscathed.


It’s everyone’s favorite event of August — not back to school but the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Brake Safety Week. It lasts through Saturday. Commercial motor vehicle inspectors are going to be focusing on brake-related inspections. This year’s area of emphasis for brakes is the condition of the brake lining and brake pad.

Last year during Brake Safety Week, across all of North America there were 38,117 inspections of commercial motor vehicles. That resulted in 13.3% of inspected vehicles being placed out of service for brake-related critical violations. Earlier this year, an unannounced Brake Safety Day found brake-related critical inspection items on 11.3% of vehicles, pulling 773 commercial vehicles off the road.

Brake Safety Week is kind of like back to school for drivers and carriers — a necessary evil but one that ultimately keeps the supply chain moving.

Advise shippers to account for delays in transit, and advise carriers that may not have the strongest brakes in the world to think about taking this week to get those changed. As a result, there might be a rise in carrier rejections this week that will surely get cleaned up next week.

Market Check. Elizabeth, New Jersey’s, outbound rejection rate spiked to its highest point since winter late last week. Tender volumes have been trending higher since February and are now surpassing last year’s holiday levels. The East Coast should not be left unattended. While a sub-4% rejection rate is still low, directionally speaking, this area has the most significant tightening signals in the country.

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Who’s with whom? The battle for Yellow’s terminals heats up. First, Estes Express Lines offered $1.3 billion for Yellow’s terminals. Saturday brought Old Dominion Freight Lines’ offer of $1.5 billion for the terminals. Let the bidding war commence! The ODFL bid is active for 180 days but is subject to being outbid before the deal closes. Seeing as how Estes purchased equipment and terminals from Central Freight Lines after its closure in December 2021, it’s not out of the question for Estes to come back with a higher bid.

FreightWaves’ Todd Maiden wrote of the named bankruptcy financing lenders: “Hedge funds Citadel and MFN Partners will provide $142.5 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing, which will give Yellow’s estate the funds necessary to liquidate assets. The deal also includes an additional commitment from MFN for a delayed draw of up to $70 million.”

Double Broker Corner 

(Image: Reddit r/FreightBrokers) 

Thoughts on this situation? Let me know. I’d love to share them with everyone. 

The more you know 

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Former North Carolina trucking company employee accused of embezzling over $900K

Broker and Carrier Fraud and Identity Theft | FMCSA

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The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

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