Few things are as vulnerable to determined thieves looking for a big score than a tractor-trailer loaded with expensive goods. For example, a trailer carrying tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of electronics secured only by a padlock can be pretty tempting. Those of us in the freight industry have to be careful to take every possible precaution to protect our loads. We suggest that one of those precautions is closing the social media door.
You have a door on your house that offers you both entry and egress. You keep that door closed except when in use, right? Of course you do, but why? Because leaving the door open all the time would invite criminals to come in and help themselves to your possessions. Social media use among truck drivers and carriers is similar to that door on your house.
Nearly Everyone Uses It
The first thing to understand is just how prevalent social media is. According to the Pew Research Center, some 68% of all U.S. adults regularly use social media. Among all social media users:
- 79% use Facebook
- 24% use Twitter
- 31% use Pinterest
- 32% use Instagram
- 29% use LinkedIn.
Assuming fairly average numbers across the board, this would suggest that more than two-thirds of truck drivers use social media as well. This could be a bad thing if it is not used responsibly. Indeed, we already know that thieves use social media to find empty houses to break into. It is not a stretch to assume they might also be scouring social media to find lucrative freight to target.
Keep the Door Closed
Protecting your loads against thieves who might otherwise target them using social media is as simple as closing the social media door. It is not hard to do, but it does require the will and a bit of diligence. Here are some suggestions:
- Turn Off Location Services – Plenty of social media apps seek to identify the locations of users and then post those locations online. Every truck driver should turn off location services immediately. There is no need for them.
- Do Not Post Details – Truck drivers should never post details of their travel plans or the loads they are carrying. No one needs to know where you are today.
- Be Careful about Followers and Friends – The strength of social media are the followers and friends that connect together. Truck drivers should avoid accepting requests from people they do not know. They should also avoid the temptation of building a large audience simply for the sake of doing so. This is how criminals get in.
- Adjust Security Settings – The default security settings for most social media platforms are rather liberal in order to encourage followers and friends. This is bad news from a security standpoint. Truck drivers and carriers should both fine-tune their security settings so that only people who need to see posts actually see them.
Social media is an open door to cargo theft. Do not be part of the problem by using social media irresponsibly. Instead, be as defensive as you possibly can by closing the social media door and then keeping it closed. Protect your loads the same way you would protect your own home.
Pew Research Center – http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/11/11/social-media-update-2016/