Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Vetting Carriers

November 3, 2023
Cassandra Gaines

Vetting carriers is a critical task in the freight industry. Whether you're considering partnering with a new carrier or evaluating one with a history of collaboration, the process of vetting carriers is essential. Your choice of carriers directly impacts the safety and reliability of your shipments.

However, this process isn't without its intricacies, and common mistakes can leave you exposed to fraud and logistical challenges. Here at Carrier Assure, we've gathered the information you need to delve into the top three mistakes to avoid when vetting carriers and provide you with fresh insights to elevate your vetting process, all while safeguarding your business.

Mistake #1: Falling for Fake Shippers 

Fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated, making it essential to stay one step ahead. Shippers pretending to be legitimate companies can contact you, posing a significant threat to your business. To avoid this mistake, here's what you need to do:

  • Verify Shipper Authenticity: Leverage online resources such as Google and LinkedIn to confirm the shipper's identity. Cross-reference contact information like email domains and phone numbers with the official details of the company.
  • Credit Checks: Consider running a credit check on the shipper through services like D&B reports or Experian. This provides insights into their creditworthiness before you extend credit terms. Be cautious about offering too many shipments on credit to a single shipper.
  • Stay Vigilant: Keep a watchful eye on any unusual or suspicious activity. If a shipper suddenly offers multiple shipments, exercise caution; they may be orchestrating a scam involving fake carriers.

Mistake #2: Overlooking Impostor Carriers

Fraudulent carriers can be equally deceptive, often posing as legitimate carriers. To ensure you don't overlook impostor carriers, follow these steps:

  • Use Official Sources: Verify the carrier's legitimacy by cross-referencing their details with trusted sources such as the FMCSA website or Carrier Assure. Ensure their phone number and email address match the official records.
  • Inspect Equipment: Scrutinize the carrier's equipment to ensure it aligns with your shipment route and commodity. 
  • Confirm the MC Number: Upon pick-up, find a way to check that the MC and DOT numbers on the truck matches the information you've been provided.
  • Review Inspections: Pay close attention to the carrier's inspection history. Consistent roadside inspections are vital for equipment safety and regulatory compliance. But also pay attention to where those roadside inspections have taken place. Carrier Assure provides this information in a map format for easy use. 
  • Contact the Insurance Broker: Reach out to the carrier's insurance broker for further verification. Request the carrier's VIN numbers and inquire about the number of insured trucks (if applicable) 
  • Call the References: Consider calling the carrier’s references and asking questions about their experiences with the carrier. These references can provide vital information and also illuminate if the carrier isn’t serious about your business.

Mistake #3: Carrier Vetting in a Rush

Sometimes you have to vet a carrier quickly to meet your shipping obligations. While it's generally advisable to avoid rushing, if you must proceed swiftly, follow these tips:

  • Confirm Legitimacy: Ensure you're talking to the genuine carrier by verifying their information on FMCSA's website or Carrier Assure. Check that the phone number and email match the legitimate company's details.
  • Contact the Insurance Broker: If time allows, get in touch with the carrier's insurance broker to verify coverage and gather additional information.
  • Call the Driver: When it's time to provide the pickup number, have the driver call you upon arrival. Verify the truck's MCAP and DOT numbers on-site before proceeding.

Vetting carriers is a cornerstone of ensuring your shipments reach their destination safely and on time. By avoiding these top three mistakes, you can protect your business from potential fraud, logistical issues, and financial losses. 

Stay vigilant, use trusted resources, and consider partnering with solutions like Carrier Assure to streamline the vetting process. Remember we are the first performance scoring software that anticipates how the carrier will transport the goods by analyzing hundreds of thousands of data points producing an easy-to-understand score.