You can’t be too careful in guarding your personal and business accounts.
The risk of cargo theft is bad enough, but it isn’t the only type of larceny you face on the road. Identity theft, which continues to spread due to the increasing use of credits cards and the Internet, poses many problems for truckers, who must conduct cash and credit transactions from remote sites and often cannot monitor personal accounts while away from home.
The classic mistake for owner-operators is loudly giving out a truck number or trip number at a fuel desk, says Randy Price, security director for Prime Inc. “Everyone in earshot of that has the potential of making a mental note or writing the number down,” he says of a practice he calls, “one of the oldest scams in the book.” Then the thief calls the fleet with a sob story about needing quick money for a flat tire or a tow. Prime, like many fleets with active security departments, has verification procedures that flag most such fraud incidents. Nevertheless, don’t take chances by needlessly broadcasting sensitive data.
Far less common is theft of commercial driver’s license identity. Still, it happens. In 2001, a Pennsylvania court sentenced William Nicastro to three years in prison for tampering with another trucker’s CDL to drive over-the-road for various fleets. Keep close tabs on your license card and be cautious about giving out your license number.
Other problems involve credit cards and checking accounts. Here are some tips for guarding critical information:
WHEN YOU’RE A VICTIM
If your wallet is stolen or you detect fraudulent activity related to your accounts, take action as quickly as possible.
CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES
Experian (formerly TRW)
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
Lots of information on identity theft, including a form that can be used for reporting identity theft to any company, is available at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.