Double Brokering: The Illegal, Dark Side of the Freight Industry

Jayne Grabowski
Published on May 15, 2023
truckstop survey results on fraud

The freight transportation industry is facing a significant challenge due to the widespread occurrence of illegal activities such as unauthorized double brokering, unlicensed and unbonded dispatch services finding loads for carriers, and in other cases, outright fraud. In many fraudulent schemes, the parties involved steal funds owed to carriers with no intention of providing the agreed services, and in some cases, they aim to defraud and steal the cargo. Unfortunately, with the current market's abundant capacity and many companies struggling financially, more bad actors are emerging.

Whether you deal with a carrier directly, or a broker, shipments are at risk. What your transport partners do, and how they operate, makes all the difference. Having arranged pharmaceutical shipments valued at millions of dollars for decades, without ever experiencing a lost load, we’re experts at avoiding fraud and bad actors.

So, what’s double brokering? It’s the practice in the freight transportation industry where a carrier takes on a load and then brokers it out to another carrier, often multiple times, without informing the shipper (or the broker with whom it contracted). This unlawful activity can have severe consequences for your business. It is said that double brokering scams result in industry losses of over $100 million each year. To avoid the costly risks associated with these illegal activities, it's essential to stay vigilant and proactively plan for potential risks.

The TIA, Transportation Intermediaries Association, created the below flow chart that depicts the "life cycle" of double brokering and the players involved in the transactions. Since the implementation of MAP-21 in 2012, TIA members have been reporting instances of double brokering to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). By the end of 2021, the FMCSA had informed TIA that tens of thousands of reports specifically about ”double brokering” existed in the National Consumer Compliant Database (NCCDB). If this is something you’ve encountered, you can file your complaint with the NCCDB here:

double brokering life cycle
double brokering red flags to look for

When accidents or cargo loss and damage occur, double brokering gets messy fast, potentially leaving you exposed to legal jeopardy. Tucker takes pride in the carrier relationships we’ve built, the software we use, the ISO-9001:2015 certified quality process we have in place, and our unique forensic dispatch approach that combine to make Tucker an exceptional choice to avoid scams, theft, loss, and potential legal jeopardy.

Where Tucker Comes In

It is imperative that you stay ahead of the game in order to prevent any negative consequences associated with double brokering. To minimize the risks, you should partner with an experienced logistics provider who prioritizes taking the necessary measures to prevent the occurrence of such incidents. At Tucker, we take the proactive steps outlined below to detect fraudulent activity and prevent costly mistakes associated with double brokerage. The capacity specialists on our team are trained to identify scammers and prevent them from being authorized to transport our customers' critically important shipments.

Forensic Dispatch

One of the most important ways to avoid double brokering is to communicate clearly and consistently with all parties involved in the shipment. In the trucking industry, many mistakes can happen during the vast amount of communication flow between the parties.

Tucker’s Forensic Dispatch process is designed to engage the parties with whom we speak, by inserting just a few minutes of critical, didactic, and intelligently designed questions to confirm each carrier’s ability to meet service requirements and reconfirm those requirements at certain points in time up to delivery. Communication and questions take place at two levels; with carrier office personnel and directly with drivers. Tucker personnel continually cross-checks all parties’ answers to confirm their full understanding of service requirements. We have established a thorough communication process with all parties involved in a shipment to verify the identities of the companies with whom we work. This helps us detect potentially fraudulent activities and take appropriate measures, including reporting any suspicious incidents.

Trust, but Verify – Carrier Relationships Combined with Compliance Data

Another vital step in preventing double brokering is carefully choosing, and continually monitoring, motor carriers. At Tucker, we have a meticulous process for selecting and assigning carriers, because we recognize that successful carrier selection is crucial in driving and potentially determining the overall success of a project. We seek to use carriers with whom we have a relationship, and whose service levels are exceptional. Even so, we trust and verify. Carriers are evaluated daily for compliance, such as safety rating, out-of-service (OOS), operating authority, and other criteria to ensure important data aren't missed before it’s too late. Our tools, processes, and training have been meticulously designed to proactively discover bad actors, imposters posing as legitimate carriers or even the good carrier friend who occasionally slips up.

Using Technology to Improve Freight Security

Technology is another crucial tool in preventing double brokering. By utilizing our technology, we can not only simplify the process of connecting with carriers and verifying their performance and location, but also enhance the security of your freight. Our digital, GPS-based truckload visibility enables us to stay in touch with our carriers throughout the entire transportation process and guarantee the timely and secure delivery of your goods. This level of visibility permits us to promptly address any problems, including security breaches, as they arise.

You Can Trust Tucker

Double brokering is a serious issue that can have significant consequences for your business. To ensure your peace of mind and protect your brand reputation, it's crucial to partner with a trusted company that takes proactive steps to prevent such illegal activities from happening. Our extensive 62 years of industry experience and active involvement in committees and associations have earned us a strong reputation for providing secure and reliable freight solutions for high-value industries. We are proud to serve industries like life sciences and government, where the safe and timely delivery of high-value, high-security freight is critical. With Tucker, you can rest assured that your freight is in safe hands and will arrive at its destination securely and on time. We have the software and know the signs to avoid double brokering, and our unique approach to doing business allows us to say “you're safe with us”.

Contact us today, and let’s discuss how Tucker can help your company avoid this rampant scam.   


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