How to Prevent Cargo Thieves

When transporting thousands of dollars in cargo, it’s natural you’d be worried about how to prevent cargo thieves. Cargo thieves come in many different forms, with many different strategies, and from many different places. It’s important to keep your wits about you on longer trips so that these thieves don’t take advantage of you. Read on to learn more about preventing revenue loss by way of cargo thieves.

How to Prevent Cargo Thieves: Preparation is Key

The best strategy to prevent your cargo from being stolen is to prepare accordingly. Preparation includes multiple different steps, and should always be at the forefront of any trucker’s mind. 

Preparing to Prevent Cargo Thieves: Be Aware of Your Surroundings

This step should go without saying, but it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings in any situation, especially one in which you’re carrying large amounts of valuable cargo. When considering your surroundings, you should:

  • Understand the area you’re operating in. Does the city, state, or region you’re driving in rank highly for freight and transportation-related crime? There are several sources you can use to find out if this is the case.
  • Choose pit stop locations consciously. Are you about to pass a safe and reputable truck stop, but don’t quite need to stop yet? Consider stopping regardless; there may not be another stop as safe and reliable as this one for miles. Especially if you need a place to rest for a long period of time, finding a location that is low-risk and trustworthy will grant you valuable peace of mind, as well as protection for your cargo.
  • Don’t leave unlocked trucks unattended. Simple mistakes like neglecting to properly lock up your cargo or truck cab can lead to catastrophic results. Always remember to keep your belongings, your cargo, and the cab of your truck locked accordingly to prevent anyone from capitalizing on your mistake.
  • Beware of suspicious individuals. Cargo thieves may make themselves apparent through unconscious actions or behavior in the locations they intend to commit their crimes. Have you noticed anyone standing around with no clear purpose, avoiding eye contact, or looking around suspiciously? Alternatively, you may encounter people that are uncharacteristically friendly or offering assistance that you haven’t asked for. Any behavior considered wildly unusual should be taken note of, and may help you in avoiding cargo theft.

Being aware of your surroundings is much more than simply looking around. Always aim to be aware of your area, the places you choose to stop, the safety of your truck itself, and any suspicious characters that may be present at the location you’ve chosen to stop in. 

Preparing to Prevent Cargo Thieves: Secure Your Vehicle

As mentioned before, neglecting to lock your vehicle and its cargo properly is a simple mistake that can lead to disastrous results. Always ensure that you lock your cab any time you step out, repeatedly check that your cargo is locked and secure, and remember to take your keys with you. Consider creating a checklist to ensure that every step of securing your vehicle and its cargo is followed upon your leaving it. A checklist or other similar strategies may seem excessive, but it only takes one small mistake to allow a cargo thief access to thousands of dollars in cargo.

Alternatively, consider improving your vehicle’s locking system. The locks that your trailer is currently equipped with may contain fatal flaws that allow cargo thieves access to the inside, or may otherwise be insufficient in preventing theft. If you believe this may be the case, it’s important that you improve the locks present on your vehicle and its trailer. Along with protection from thieves, the improved security will likely grant you valuable peace of mind that will make your trips infinitely less stressful.

If you’re looking for other methods of staying safe on the road, consider reading our blog post on the subject.

Other Methods of Cargo Theft

The primary and most obvious form of cargo theft is by straightforward means: someone gains access to your trailer or truck and steals the goods that way. That’s not the only way that cargo theft may occur, however. Some popular methods of cargo theft include:

  • Warehouse theft: Although cargo is often at its most vulnerable on the road, that does not mean that cargo theft is restricted to goods traveling long distances. Cargo thieves may instead target warehouses or other storage facilities if they notice security is weak, or if they have an easy way into the facility. Prevent warehouse theft by maintaining rigid safety precautions at all facilities, ensuring that no unauthorized individuals have access to goods.
  • Cyber attacks: One of the least straightforward methods, cyber-attacks have risen to prominence over the past two decades. Cyber attacks can come in many different forms, but the most popular among them is what’s called a phishing attack. Phishing is when someone sends a text, email, phone call, or another form of communication impersonating someone they’re not. Phishers do this in hopes of their targets voluntarily supplying them with sensitive information or allowing them access to restricted areas and technologies. Avoid becoming the victim of a phishing attack by remaining wary and researching popular methods of phishing.
  • Identity theft: Similar to phishing, cargo thieves may assume the identity of important individuals within your company, within the company whose goods you’re transporting, or otherwise someone that may have authority or influence over you. They assume the identity of these people in order to coerce you into unsafe situations, volunteer sensitive information, or allow them access to places or things they would normally not have access to. An easy way to avoid being placed in these situations is to always ask identifying questions: if the person is who they say they are, they will not have any problems identifying themselves.


Cargo theft isn’t the only threat on the roadway. Many crimes, such as human trafficking, unfortunately, thrive on our nation’s roads. It’s important that you remain aware and educate yourself to avoid harm to yourself or others.

Prevent Cargo Thieves With a Quality Education

The first step to preventing cargo thieves is receiving quality CDL training to prepare you for the roads ahead. Truck Driver Institute has 11 campuses nationwide focused on supplying the best, most affordable, and most efficient CDL training in the United States. In just 3 weeks, our students graduate with their CDL and an over 80% job placement rating. Contact us today or visit our website to learn more.

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