How Drivers Can Protect Their Identity on the Road

December is National Identity Theft Awareness Month. For drivers, this is a strong reminder that you’re more at risk than folks in nearly every industry, for several reasons. For OTR drivers, being away from home often makes it possible for thieves to steal mail and then start to take over an identity. For OOs, there is a real risk given the sheer number of times an OO needs to give out his or her social security number, which can be used to create new lines of credit in a person’s name. 

The examples above aren’t exactly cutting edge, with hackers (likely in hoodies) poring over the computer as they attempt to infiltrate the inner workings of a driver’s finances. Instead, they’re descriptions of common types of identity theft.  

The FTC has an amazing set of resources to help prevent ID theft and identify whether you’re at risk. There are a few early indicators, including: 

  • Something strange on your credit report– AnnualCreditReport.com is a website built to allow individuals to see their credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year. It’s advisable to stagger uses, checking Experian, Equifax and TransUnion every four months, as opposed to all of the bureaus at once, since those organizations are supposed to share information. It’s a great resource for any individual whose bank doesn’t offer free credit reporting. “Something strange” can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but the gist is that most folks will be able to explain anything they find on their report. If there is something that seems amiss, it’s important to investigate further. It might be as basic as a credit check for a cell phone provider you’re not actually a customer of. As the FTC says, consider placing a credit freeze or fraud alert with a bureau if you see anything out of the ordinary. This makes it so thieves can’t open new lines of credit in another person’s name. 
  • Bills not arriving on time (or at all)– For individuals who prefer paper bills to paperless billing, it can be an early warning sign if specific bills stop arriving. With the information in a cell phone bill (phone number, physical address, etc), thieves can start to take over a person’s identity. For drivers on the road a lot, leaving their mail in the mailbox can present a tremendous risk. An obvious workaround here is to have a neighbor or friend pick up your mail while you’re hauling, but a significant percentage of ID theft and ID fraud is committed by people who know the victim. In times of crisis, like a pandemic, typically good people’s motivations can change, so switching to electronic billing is an excellent way to stay safer. 
  • Bills you don’t expect start to arrive– Perhaps the most scary indicator of ID theft is when bills start to arrive that a person doesn’t recognize. Maybe it’s something simple, like a cell phone bill or a credit card statement. It can also be bills from a doctor’s office, indicating that medical ID Theft has occurred. In this instance, a thief has used someone else’s insurance to cover their medical expenses, leaving the victim to pay whatever outstanding balance is left. If you start to see bills coming in (or you receive unexpected calls from a collections agency), it can be a sign that something is wrong. 

If any of the red flags above apply to you, we’d encourage you to visit https://www.identitytheft.gov, a website built by the FTC to help victims overcome the issues they’ll face. 

Our team ends many of our conversations with drivers with some version of “stay safe out there.” As we enter National Identity Theft Awareness Month, we mean it in more ways than one. 

Four Takeaways from Home Delivery World

Last month, Home Delivery World took place on the internet, connecting hundreds of supply chain leaders for a series of panels, discussions, and even a few (virtual) happy hours, if you knew where to look.

Home Delivery World Logo

While the discussion covered everything from white glove delivery service to track & trace technology, our team in attendance came away with four critical themes that will shape the supply chain in 2021 and beyond.

  1. Home delivery is here to stay– It’s trite that a room full of professionals who make their living overseeing home deliveries agree that home delivery will be critical for the future of the supply chain. However, it’s also crucial to really delve into the shift we’ve seen, especially as a result of COVID-19. While companies like DoorDash and Instacart were pushing the envelope of what types of goods are supposed to be deliverable, the global pandemic has turbocharged the shift to home delivery, with everything from stand up desks to toilet paper expected as available, almost immediately.
  2. Logistics just became part of the UX– In the new “deliver everything” view, it’s critical for brands to think about the actual delivery as part of the customer experience. There was a great mention of how much negative feedback on Amazon product pages has nothing to do with the product, and everything to do with the delivery. “The driver left it on my doorstep without ringing the bell, and my package was stolen.” “The box my glass coffee pot came in looks like someone played soccer with it; big surprise, the coffee pot is shattered.” “I love the product, but the ETA changed a half dozen times, and I had to give this to my mom a week after her birthday”… the list goes on.
  3. It isn’t just pricing that’s complicating this peak season– Every peak season is different, but this year’s iteration is bringing a wide range of atypical issues. On the one hand, many truckers are canceling agreements because they can find more money for a similar load elsewhere. Others see that they might have extra room in a trailer and pick up an extra bit of freight to really fill the truck (and improve their margins). This would be fine, except when shippers pay for FTL, they don’t expect to see their goods potentially damaged by someone else’s goods. These issues have been particularly prevalent for some of the newer companies that have removed the storefront experience from their operations, such as exercise equipment companies and mattress sellers. This capacity crunch is being exacerbated in port cities by tremendous (often record-level) imports.
  4. APIs and stitching are the future, and the future is now– “In the last seven months, we’ve moved the supply chain ahead 10 years.” The idea of digital transformation has been discussed for years, but the necessity of touchless delivery, coupled with the frantic pace of change required to get goods where they were needed, has dramatically increased digitization efforts. In the coming months and years, an onslaught of connected systems and IoT infrastructure will increase the number of points generating data, meaning more systems will need to be stitched together to understand and interpret the meaning of the flood of new information.

The organization behind Home Delivery World did a tremendous job adapting a traditionally in-person show into a digital setting (their own digital transformation?) , and kudos are deserved for a wonderful set of panelists and fireside chats.

If you were at the show, what were your impressions? If not, what other shows should we hope to meet you at?