Outside of the industry, people think that truckers deal primarily with large objects and various types of freight. However, when it comes down to it, you probably spend a lot more hands on time with various types of paperwork. Sure, the freight’s there, but it’s the paperwork that accompanies this freight that you rely on. Is your paperwork in order? Falsified paperwork is more common than you might think and is a contributing cause of theft in the trucking industry. Protect yourself this holiday season by staying alert and by making sure your paperwork is always legitimate.
Bills of Lading
Bills of lading are designed to protect both truckers and shippers alike. They outline the terms of your contract with the shipper and ensure that both parties are aware of charges, delivery requirements, etc. While bills of lading often protect, fraudulent versions can actually do a lot of harm.
Bill of lading fraud can take on many faces, but a few common manifestations include:
· Fraudulent Release Forms- A fraudulent bill of lading or auction release form has the potential to trick the holder of an item into releasing it to an unauthorized party. While not a big problem for truckers, this is something shippers should pay close attention to. Carefully check all documents before releasing a shipment. Make sure paperwork is in order and compare forms (color, style, paper type, etc.) to known legitimate forms looking for counterfeits.
· Signed as Delivered Without Delivery- A signed bill of lading is your key to payment once a load has been delivered; some truckers falsify these forms to get payment on loads not delivered. Often these falsified forms are processed through factoring companies or quick pay programs so the payment is made before the fraud can be discovered.
· Incorrect Forms- Protect yourself when picking up loads by carefully checking the bill of lading before leaving the pickup site. The items loaded on your truck should match the inventory listed on your documentation. Check serial numbers, etc. to ensure that you have the right load and accompanying paperwork. Any agreed upon terms should be listed on your bill of lading. Pay attention to any restrictions on delivery, especially those that could result in docking of pay (guaranteed delivery dates, etc.). Taking pictures of your load (especially any previous damage) and paperwork can help to protect you should trouble arise.
Certificates of Insurance
Is your insurance up to date? Falsified certificates of insurance can be a big problem in the transportation industry and are something we all should look out for. We make it easy for you to provide legitimate copies of your insurance information using our simple online tools.
Permits and Other Documents
Permits are another paperwork area with the potential for fraud and theft. Make sure that you file for permits yourself or that you use a reputable permit company. Familiarize yourself with the permits needed for each state and with the way each permit should look. Make sure the information listed on your permits is correct from load size and weight to truck information to commodity information.
As we enter the holiday season make sure to keep yourself safe from paperwork fraud by staying aware. Make sure your paperwork is in order and have a happy, safe and productive holiday season this year.