Enhancing freight security | Harnessing ID scanning to combat theft

Cargo trucks at loading dock

Last updated on November 30th, 2023 at 12:11 pm

The freight and logistics industry plays a pivotal role in global trade, ensuring the efficient movement of goods across vast distances. However, with its immense scale and complexity, the industry is also susceptible to various security challenges, with cargo theft being a significant concern. With broad, global economic concerns and widespread inflation, cargo theft is on the rise. More than $58M in cargo was stolen across the US and Canada in 2022.

According to British Standards Institution, theft from facility rose to become the most common type of physical cargo theft in 2022. Container theft, and vehicle theft also rose significantly, highlighting the vulnerabilities along the entire supply chain.

“Globally, for example, smugglers and cargo thieves are diversifying their methods and theft types. This past year, we tracked an increase in thefts from facilities and theft from containers/trailers, along with a dropoff in hijackings globally. Not mapping the risk of theft or smuggling within the supply chain heightens this risk of tampering along various points of the supply chain, whether it be in-transit, in a warehouse or at an unsecured lot.”

BSI, Supply Chain Risks Insight Report 2022

Food & beverage, construction materials, and automobiles are among the goods most commonly subject to theft, making up 26% of all cargo theft. The average value of each theft is $214,000 per load, which means that even a single theft incident has a disastrous impact on the business’s bottom line.

In recent years, technological advancements have introduced innovative solutions to enhance security measures. One such solution is the integration of ID scanning technology, which proves to be a powerful tool in reducing theft incidents and bolstering the overall security of the logistics ecosystem.

ID scanning | A versatile security enhancer

Imagine a scenario where every driver approaching your facilities could be seamlessly authenticated. Our ID scanning technology transforms this vision into reality. By accurately verifying the identity of drivers through their scanned IDs, you ensure that only authorized personnel gain access. This not only serves as a robust deterrent to potential thieves but also eliminates the risk of unauthorized individuals tampering with your cargo. As a Director of Supply Chain, you recognize the significance of secure access, and our technology ensures that only trustworthy individuals are entrusted with your valuable shipments.

In an era where supply chain security is no longer a mere consideration but an absolute necessity, innovative solutions are emerging to address the complex challenge of theft prevention. Among these, ID scanning technology has emerged as a shining beacon of versatility, offering a multifaceted approach to fortifying your supply chain against the threat of theft perpetrated by employees, vendors, or individuals or businesses using a fake ID.

IDs are scanned at item pickup, with the information recorded to the bill of lading. Ensuring that 2D barcode security and ID authentication are performed at this time, the system will detect the vast majority of fake IDs to root out thieves who are using a false identity to gain access to your cargo. For particularly valuable shipments, new vendors, or scenarios that your business determines to be higher risk, your team can manually trigger an additional identity check at this time as well, querying the state DMV database, or performing deep identity proofing using IdentiFraud. These level of checks go beyond checking the document authenticity but confirm address match, social security records, utilities records, and more. This information is never transferred to your business, but the system returns a confidence score that allows you to make an informed decision about the security of each driver.

Among the benefits of using ID scanners is this way is the ability to operate in a point-in-time manner. Your business does not need to do deep due diligence in advance on every driver, but can gather all the information needed to make an informed decision on-site. The process takes just a few seconds.

Additionally, each ID stores rich data in its 2D barcode, which can be easily parsed into your system of record, or stored inside the visitor management software. When stored inside the visitor management software you are easily able to add individuals to a shared banned list which is immediately accessible across all your locations to prevent coordinated fraud attacks. In either location, you now have trackable information on who picked up a particular shipment, which can easily be shared with law enforcement in the event of theft.

Lastly, the mere presence has been shown to deter fraudsters, who know they are unlikely to pass an identity check.

Preventing strategic theft in advance with digital identity verification

While physical theft remains the primary form of cargo crime, thieves are targeting their victims through cyber scams and identity theft, creating fictitious pickups, also referred to as “strategic theft.”

Thieves pretend to be a legitimate trucking company, operating on load boards (online freight management systems) or call freight brokers and shippers directly to solicit the ability to move loads. It seems brazen, but Verisk indicates a 600% increase in this type of theft in 2023.

“We’re seeing a lot of strategic thefts. We’re seeing those spread, not just only in volume, but they’re also growing in geographical area.”

Danny Ramon, intelligence and response manager at Overhaul

Digital identity verification emerges as a powerful tool in this endeavor. By integrating advanced technology into the heart of supply chain operations, companies can thwart strategic cargo theft attempts before they even unfold. The best way to prevent strategic theft is well in advance of scammers getting their hands on your merchandise or equipment. Digital identity verification requests can ensure you know the identity of everyone you do business with.

The process is initiated via a text or SMS, and takes less than 30 seconds to capture an image of the individual’s ID, and match their face to that image via selfie. This data can then be matched against to ensure drivers have been pre-validated and match the expected visitor list. As many retailer have begun implementing identity checks in advance of large purchases or risky transactions like test drives, logistics and shipping organizations can follow suit and protect their high-dollar transactions.


Cargo theft is a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry that poses a substantial threat to the supply chain. According to the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), global cargo theft incidents continue to rise, with estimates exceeding $30 billion annually. This menace impacts not only the companies directly affected but also consumers who bear the brunt of increased costs due to theft-related losses. Simple, elegant technology such as ID scanning and ID authentication can help provide additional security checks across the entire supply chain without adding significant technology bloat or onerous processes.

Schedule a demo to see how our seamless, easy-to-use ID scanning can help reduce theft and fraud in your business.