Protect Your USDOT Number

Protect Your USDOT Number

Although fraud is an issue, we have all been aware of for quite some time, it is beginning to be more prevalent in the commercial trucking industry. The increased use of technology in the industry has been greatly beneficial but has also created easier outlets for others to gain access to your company’s information. The largest form of fraud, or identity theft, seen in the commercial transportation industry today relates to the company’s USDOT number. The DOT number assigned to your company is created by the FMCSA to monitor and regulate commercial motor vehicles. Hackers are now using these numbers to harm carriers as well as brokers. Just like we protect our banking and personal information, it is now crucial that you protect your DOT number too.

Unfortunately, when a USDOT number is compromised, the hacker will use this information to disrupt your daily operations as well as corrupt your financials if they can do so. If a hacker is physically running under your authority and an accident (or other type of claim) occurs, you may be forced to face the repercussions of the claim. When your daily operations are interrupted for these matters, it is helpful to rely on law enforcement or other agencies to help get your business back on the right track in a timely manner. The quicker your company can get back in business, the more likely you are to maintain the relationships you work hard to keep with brokers and partners around you.

How can you avoid these hackers? The answer is simple. Be aware and be prepared! Stay up to date on the technology you can use to help prevent anyone from stealing your company’s information. Changes are happening all around us every day, so use that to your advantage and keep yourself protected. It is also imperative that company owners regularly check on their SMS results from the FMCSA. You can log into your portal account to see more information regarding: inspections, incidents, and even who all is affiliated with your company. This is a great way to catch signs of fraud or identity theft before they can hurt your company worse. NASTC offers an annual CSA review as part of our Management and Safety Program that would also be a great resource in preventing fraud against your company. We use the information provided on the FMCSA website to keep you informed on your safety ratings.

The FMCSA has provided great tips to help your company stay safe:

  • Confirming phone numbers of brokers and carriers using SAFER at https://safer.fmcsa.dot.gov. If the number you were given by the carrier/broker does not match the number posted, call the number posted in SAFER for the company to discuss the load. It is possible the identity of an employee of the business you are contacting has also been stolen.
  • Document examination is critical. Even insurance certificates can be fraudulent. If you suspect something is not right, research the numbers and call the companies.
  • STOP the transaction if:

a. your broker asks you to present yourself as a carrier of a different name or asks your driver to lie about who they work for.

b. you question the destination of the load and are told it’s a “blind load”.

c. the broker is quick to agree in paying you more; or

d. the rate far exceeds the current market rate.

  • Encourage your customers to maintain driver and vehicle logs. Confirm the name and numbers on the truck that shows up to load are the same as the one with which you contracted. Having your customer record the tractor and trailer plate information will assist in identifying the actual carrier. Request pictures of the truck and trailer and compare and verify information provided on the carrier packets. If you have been involved in a fraudulent load, this will be important information for law enforcement.

If your company falls victim to fraud or identity theft, be sure to notify the correct people. As we discussed, rely on law enforcement to be in your corner. If your company’s information is compromised, be sure to report the activity to your local law enforcement as well as the Department of Transportation. It is crucial that you also inform your insurance company of the fraudulent activity that has taken place under your USDOT number in case any claims, violations or other data appears under your company’s name.

Fraud or identity theft is something we hope no one has to experience, but unfortunately there are individuals out there who may try to target your company and your USDOT number. Stay aware! Protect your company and your drivers with new technologies, better security, staying up to date on your SMS data and relying on law enforcement to help. If you suspect fraudulent activity and need help, please don’t hesitate to contact us!