AITWA hauls forces against fraud prevention

India’s road transportation sector is one of the largest in the world and plays a crucial role in the country’s economic development. However, even though out of all the modes of transportation, road transport holds the largest share in movement of freight across the country, the sector has long been plagued by various impediments that hold it back from realising its full potential, while also reducing profitability. 

The multiple challenges that India’s road transportation sector faces include 

  • Poor condition of roads and highways, which leads to high maintenance costs and delays in transportation. 
  • Shortage of skilled drivers, which leads to a high rate of accidents and loss of cargo. 
  • Complex tax structures and bureaucratic processes, leading to a high compliance cost for trucking companies. 
  • Security concerns rising from instances of cargo theft and hijacking.
  • The lack of technological adoption and modernization.These problems have resulted in low margins for trucking companies and have hampered the growth of the industry. 

One challenge apart from these, which has been growing at a quick pace lately, is that of fraudulent activities in the sector, which has caused significant losses to parties involved. Addressing these fraudulent practices is critical to ensure the safety and sustainability of India’s road transportation sector.

Fortunately, the road transport association All India Transporter’s Welfare Association (AITWA), along with their efforts towards solving other problems of the sector, have been working towards unrooting fraudulent activity. With the increasing number of frauds taking place across different cities, AITWA has compiled a handbook to help transporters protect themselves from frauds & follow standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Types of Fraud 

According to the Association, there are two types of reported frauds in the sector – absconding trucks and multiple brokers. In the case of the former, the truck goes absconding with the cargo onboard and/or the driver or the fleet owner cannot be traced as well. It is possible if either the KYC verification of the fleet owner is not done properly or the shared document belongs to someone else. In such cases, the truck at the loading point may be using a duplicate number plate in accordance with the number mentioned on the shared document. In most cases, the cargo loaded on such vehicles is something that can be easily sold in the open market (like sand, wheat, cement etc.)

The second type of fraud takes place due to the presence of multiple brokers between end user and provider of the transportation services. Such middlemen take payments from the users, however, do not give those payments to the service providers, rather completely dissociates himself from the transaction. In these cases also, the broker becomes unreachable by either of the parties. It is also found that sometimes multiple brokers are involved in such fraudulent transactions.

LogiLocker

AITWA is populating a list of such fraudsters using resources from across the country and suggests the end users of trucking services to use the LogiLocker app on their phones to avoid falling into the trap while engaging trucks for moving their cargo. This app has been developed for use by transporters, to verify truck & driver particulars before handing over any cargo. Any fraud vehicle or driver will be reported through LogiLocker by transporters to create awareness & block anyone else to get defrauded. For ease of access, the LogiLocker app can be easily downloaded on both Android and iOS based devices. 

How to avoid falling prey?

The guidelines suggested by AITWA include the following steps to avoid getting defrauded: 

  1. Always use verified or known vendors: 

If using digital platforms like Blackbuck, Vahak etc., look for the verified tag before engaging with the vendor on their app/portal. Never deal with an unverified vendor. 

  1. Verify Truck Details on LogiLocker: 

Use the LogiLocker app to ensure that the truck has necessary valid permits/insurance/PUCC and other documents which are required to move the cargo from source to destination. 

The LogiLocker app will also flag any recent fraud or lapse reported for that vehicle/fleet owner. 

  1. Truck and Truck Owner Mapping:

This will help a transporter know if the service provider is the actual fleet owner. The user just needs to request the prescribed documents from the service provider and using the LogiLocker app, they can verify if the truck they wish to book belongs to the said fleet owner.

  1. Driver Verification: 

This will help transporters to keep record of the driver who has been handed the responsibility of transporting their goods to the destination. 

  1. Payment Account Verification: 

By verifying the payment destination account, the user can ensure that the money they deposit as payment for the truck will go to the truck owner’s bank account only and they won’t get entangled in a cross-brokerage fraud. AITWA is working on building a process to map truck owners on LogiLocker to verify their bank details through online verification & for secured sharing with transporters. 

  1. Truck Verification at Loading Point: 

By verifying that the truck arrived at the loading point is indeed the one booked, the user can shield himself from a difficult situation like absconding trucks. All the user needs to do is use the LogiLocker app to match the chassis number engraved on the truck with the one uploaded on the app. 

What to do if you are a victim of fraud? 

In case vehicle/driver engaged in fraudulent activity such as theft of material, advance taken & not delivered, crossing without permission, co-loading in case of FTL or similar, the service user can lodge a report to the local police station & submit NC copy to AITWA through LogiLocker app for blacklisting such vehicle & driver. 


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