A new scam targeting truckers could wind up costing you thousands of dollars – or potentially even put you out of business.
Crystal Minardi is a supervisor with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association’s permits & licensing department. On a recent episode of Land Line Now, she shared an alarming new tactic scammers are using to “hijack” a carrier’s DOT number.
Minardi says that scammers are exploiting a recent “temporary adjustment” made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for carriers updating their MCS-150 via the manual form.
At the beginning of the month, FMCSA began requiring any carrier completing a manual update to also submit a copy of their commercial driver’s license. Minardi says the agency then uses the information to confirm the owner of the DOT number.
This temporary adjustment appears to have opened the door for scammers. Minardi says that since the temporary adjustment went into effect, her department has fielded several calls from carriers claiming to have brokers from load boards requesting a copy of their CDL before accepting the load.
“If you’re dealing with a reputable broker, they are not going to ask you for a copy of your driver’s license… if they’re requesting it, that’s a red flag,” Minardi said. “You need to look further into it.”
The scammer will then use the copy of the CDL to change your MCS-150 information, hijacking your DOT number. Once they have control, it opens the door to the possibility of booking fraudulent loads or double-brokering under your DOT number – leaving the carrier to deal with the liability.
“It’s a nightmare for the carrier,” she said.
Minardi says the unfortunate fact is there isn’t much that can be done once a scam like this has occurred. Because of this, she stresses the importance of being vigilant when it comes to who you’re working with and what information you are giving out.
“Once the damage is done, it’s a lot to go through, and you may never recover, unfortunately.”
If you do become the victim of a scam, Minardi says that carriers will want to report the issue to their insurance company, along with the U.S. DOT via the National Consumer Complaint Database. Additionally, she suggests making social media and website posts to alert other carriers to scam brokers.
To help stay vigilant of possible fraudulent activity, Minardi suggest that carriers:
- Check their DOT number regularly
- Be mindful of who you’re working with
- Book directly through shippers to avoid shady brokers
- Vet all brokers through the FMCSA’s SAFER website and by completing a credit check
- Call OOIDA’s business services department with questions or concerns
Minardi says she has contacted FMCSA about the scam. LL