The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is warning truckers of potential scams.
You’re bombarded with phone calls and texts and emails offering up all sorts of services, thanks in part to your phone number being part of the public record.
“You’re going to get one spam after another, after another after another,” said Tara Murdock of OOIDA’s Permits and Licensing Department.
Some might be scams. And some might be legitimate businesses offering up their services, but that doesn’t mean you need them.
Murdock has a recent example that ended up costing a member some money.
“We had gotten a phone call from one of our members this morning, and he was freaking out,” Murdock said. “The UCR permit is due to be renewed by Jan. 1 every year. He had paid a company to file it. He told me the prices of it. Then he was getting slammed with emails today stating that it had not been done and he was out of compliance.”
That member was in compliance.
The company he paid to file his Unified Carrier Registration did in fact file the UCR, but they did it a few days late. But there was some possible deception at play from the jump.
Two things here.
For one, the member was under the impression that the email was coming from FMCSA.
“He did see the name of the company and thought that it could have been part of FMCSA,” Murdock said. “However, upon digging into it a little bit, it was not actually a part of FMCSA.”
And two, the member overpaid big time, forking out $190 for a UCR permit that costs just over $42 to file.
“I don’t know how some of these companies sleep at night,” Murdock said.
Murdock says he probably could have handled it all by himself.
““Honestly, you can go onto the UCR.gov website, you type in your DOT number … the name of the company. Address. Confirm it. Two more confirmation clicks. Enter your payment information. The permit’s done,” Murdock said.
While Murdock acknowledges that companies have a right to charge for their services, she’s worried that they’re intentionally misleading people.
“There was a gentleman that called in a couple of days ago,” Murdock said. “Similar type of situation. Instead of a DOT.gov, he went to a DOT.com and did his biennial update. If he was on the DOT.gov website, it would have been free. Well, he paid the DOT.com $100. I get there are service providers out there. I know everybody’s out to make some type of money. I get it. I just hate seeing everything not being disclosed for the person to be able to make their decision. Do I want to go with this company? Do I want to do this on my own? Just don’t be sketchy. It’s really that easy.”
So the advice here is to be suspicious of emails, phone calls and especially text messages, because most of the time, official government agencies will send you a letter before reaching out in other ways.
In another recent case, OOIDA warned truckers of a potential phone scam
A member was first to bring this one to the Association’s attention as well after getting a text from an unknown number advising him that there had been “an error” with his U.S. DOT.
He was told to call a number to “become current and keep driving with no interruption.” Instead, he did an internet search of the phone number and saw some red flags. Then he called OOIDA to find out what, if anything, was going on with his authority.
“If there’s ever any type of question, just give us a shout,” Murdock said. “If we can’t do it, we’ll tell you what we do know about how you can do it yourself. We will give you a reputable recommendation of somebody that we know that could help you or we do that. Here’s our service fee, here’s the permit fee or here’s the website. You can do it directly there. Here’s your options. We’re not just going to be like, ‘Hey, this is due, give me your money.’ That’s not what OOIDA is about.” LL