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4 Ways to Alert the FBI to Cargo Theft


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Many freight industry members underreport cargo theft because of the tedious paperwork. With the inundation of fraud in the market, some cases may seem like just an addition to a never-ending list of complaints. However, federal agents at the FBI take cargo theft seriously and rely on verifiable information to track and disband Major Theft Organizations (MTO).

FBI cargo theft investigations face difficulties fighting cargo theft due to a lack of reporting and sufficient details necessary to track cases effectively.

The primary challenges law enforcement faces in combatting cargo theft are:

  • Underreporting or non-reporting of theft to local or federal authorities.
  • The victim does not have information, such as license plates for the truck or semi-trailer.
  • Not able to contact carriers or brokers to obtain the bill of lading (BOL).
  • No after-hours contact information for victims to confirm cargo is stolen.
  • Companies are reluctant to release cargo value or the rate confirmed to transport.
  • Companies are unwilling to give GPS controls to law enforcement for GPS tracking systems after a theft.
  • Law enforcement officials not taking reports if it is unknown where the theft occurred.

How can you help the FBI?

Transportation professionals are vital in assisting the FBI, and their collaboration is essential. Trucking companies, freight brokers, and drivers possess vital information that can help detect suspicious activity. Knowing what to look for and how to advocate for change and government involvement starts with these actions.

  • Be vocal about the crime and share details. Gaining additional government funding and resources to fight cargo theft is contingent on the volume and severity of crime reports.
  • Talk to your senators and congresspeople. The more elected officials know and understand the problem, the more likely they are to allocate finances and agents to address the issues.
  • Share information within the industry. The logistics industry has a strong and elaborate network in which news travels fast. Share what you have seen or experienced to help others safeguard their trucks and cargo.
  • Train your workforce on emerging trends. Institute security rules to help prevent spoofing, smishing, and identity theft to avoid becoming a victim.
  • Invest in high-quality security cameras. This helps you monitor your trucks and gives the FBI images to use for facial recognition. Images substantially increase the odds the FBI will be able to track down the culprit.
  • Keep copies of all your paperwork outside of the truck. Take pictures of the license plates, bill of lading, etc., to assist the FBI and government resources.

Ways to Report Cargo Theft to the FBI

The FBI wants to hear from you and takes your concerns very seriously. The information you provide not only helps them track down criminals but also helps increase awareness and funding for this growing problem.

There are four ways to report suspicious behavior or cargo theft crime.

  1. Report a crime or submit a complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice. This adds to the uniform crime report.
  2. Report cyber crimes to The Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3. This is the central hub for reporting and is monitored by the FBI. To protect your business, you can also use this site for education on the latest and most threatening cyber scams.
  3. Report federal crimes and submit tips for government investigation at tips.fbi.gov
  4. Call or visit your local FBI field office. Duty agents are available to discuss your experience and report a crime.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • CargoNet
  • National Insurance Crime Bureau
  • Regional security task forces and databases
  • Freight market reports
  • Trucking associations
  • Industry data from companies like Truckstop

Criminals are looking to make money as quickly as possible to remain undetected. By focusing on market trends and societal supply and demand, they can identify which products will be the most valuable. For example, masks and PPE during the COVID pandemic or generators and building supplies in the aftermath of a hurricane.
The FBI is working with other agencies at the federal and local levels on an ongoing basis to educate agents on the increase in cargo theft trends and statistics and how to combat this growing threat. This includes prosecutors, judges, the trucking community, and the everyday consumer.
If a theft involves an organized crime group, is sophisticated in nature, is a high-dollar amount, or has a significant impact on the community, FBI agents will get involved. Limited resources prevent the FBI from taking every case, but it’s encouraged that you reach out to them regardless, as your information may be helpful for an ongoing or future case.

Freight brokers can get involved in several ways.

  • Request training from the FBI for your company and drivers.
  • Providing intel on market trends and how they impact your business.
  • Collaborate with the FBI, if criminals are targeting you.

If you have questions and want to learn how to partner with the FBI to combat the growing threat of cargo theft in the trucking industry, email [email protected].

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