Below is the first article in an ongoing series called “Focus on Fraud.” In upcoming blog posts we’ll take a look some popular scams in the trucking industry and how you can guard against them.
You have a load that needs to get from Los Angeles to Chicago—fast. You post the load and soon a call comes in from a carrier. You’ve never dealt with this carrier before but he seems to be just what you’re looking for. He has the specialty equipment you’ve specified and he can pick up within two hours. All he needs is a fuel advance and he’ll be on his way.
Before issuing a fuel advance, you’d be wise to take a few precautionary steps to make sure this carrier checks out.
- Check the MC and DOT number the carrier has provided to make sure they match with what is listed on the FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) system website.
- Make sure the phone number the carrier provides—or better yet, the number that shows up on your caller ID—matches with that listed in his DOT registration. Also verify the carrier's address and fax number.
- If you are a TIA member, check the TIA WatchDog site to see whether there have been any recent complaints about the carrier.
- If you decide to work with the carrier, you'll also want to check his safety rating, CSA scores, and make sure his insurance is valid.
Carrier validation made easy
Although this seems like a lot of work, consider how much is at stake financially—plus your reputation with the shipper—if the carrier fails to deliver.
Fortunately, DAT has a solution. Our CarrierWatch® product makes screening carriers quick and easy. Rather than spending your time searching multiple websites and making multiple phone calls (or adding staff to do it for you), CarrierWatch puts all the information you need at your fingertips. From a single screen you can click to verify the carrier’s DOT authority, view his actual insurance certificate, and check his safety rating and CSA scores.
In addition, our exclusive Alias Search function will check to see if the carrier’s name, address, phone or fax has been used previously by a carrier who was put out of business.
If you use DAT Express or Power, you already have CarrierWatch. Select it from the Tools menu in Express or the Research tab in Power. To upgrade your subscription to include actual insurance certificates or a larger watch list, contact customer service at 800-551-8847.