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Load Board Red Flags: What to look out for on Load Boards 

Kim Diggs

May 2, 2024

Load boards are a valuable resource for busy owner-operators like you. They connect you with freight brokers and loads easily and efficiently. Unfortunately, load boards can also be fertile ground for bad actors engaging in fraudulent activities such as double-brokering, freight fraud, holding loads hostage and outright cargo theft.  

Criminals may masquerade as both freight brokers and carriers on load boards. According to the Transportation Intermediaries Association, freight fraud costs the transportation industry between $500 and $700 million each year. As a carrier, fraudulent loads on load boards can leave you with lost or no revenue on a load you hauled or a load hostage situation in which the criminals fraudulently pick up a load pretending to be you and demand cash in exchange for releasing the cargo. 

No matter how you cut it, freight fraud is something you want to avoid to prevent a loss in revenue and to preserve positive relationships with brokers and shippers.  

In this article you’ll learn about load board red flags to look out for and how to avoid fraudulent loads and lost revenue

Background on load boards 

In the late 1970s, load boards got their start as hand written notes left on truck stop bulletin boards. In those days, truckers would find a load they liked tacked up on a bulletin board at a truck stop and would use the truck stop’s pay phone to call the broker about the load. Today’s load boards are digital, connecting carriers with brokers and shippers nationwide. Most load boards can be accessed with a computer or using some type of mobile app.  

Digitization of load boards saves carriers like you as well as freight brokers and shippers’ valuable time. In today’s load board world, you can likely find a lead on a load for your truck(s) without even picking up the phone. Using load boards continues to be beneficial for the industry but the digitization of the marketplace has increased the potential for fraudulent transactions and interactions, particularly between carriers and brokers.  

Seven load board red flags for carriers 

One of the more common types of freight fraud on load boards is double brokering. Double brokering is just as it sounds. In most cases, someone accepts a load with the broker, then brokers that load to another carrier. The problem is that the broker pays the initial carrier who did not move the load, and it’s not clear if they actually paid the carrier who moved it.  

Other types of criminal activity that may occur via load boards include cargo theft, fictitious pickups, shipment diversion, data hijacking, and load pilferage (partial theft of a load).  

There are often red flags when using load boards to find freight for your truck(s).  

1. Stale loads 

The first load board red flag to look out for is how long ago the load was posted. Was the load posted two weeks ago? If so, you should be asking yourself why it’s still there, active on the load board. It may be the case that it’s a legitimate broker who just forgot to remove the post, or an undesirable load. However, a stale load also may be an indicator of problematic loads or fraud.  

2. Double-posted loads 

Another potential load board red flag is seeing the same load from the same broker posted on multiple load boards with different rates listed. Imagine this scenario: you see a load with a great rate listed on load board 1, and then once it’s supposedly been taken by another carrier, the identical load appears on load board 2 with a listed rate hundreds of dollars lower than the original post.  

3. Inconsistent or incomplete information 

One of the strongest indicators of fraudulent activity is when there are inconsistencies in the information provided to you or missing information. Is the broker-carrier agreement unusually short on details? If you notice missing or conflicting phone numbers, load details, load numbers, or addresses, you may be dealing with a scammer.  

4. Suspiciously high rates 

If a load sounds too good to be true…you know the rest. One tactic that bad actors use is to register themselves as carriers on load boards. Once they’ve accepted a load, they post the legitimate load and its details with a high rate pretending to be the broker who owns the load. You take the load and transport it only to discover that the scammer has been paid by the legitimate broker for the transportation you provided – and you never get paid. 

5. Inconsistent contact details 

Is the contact information the same on all of the paperwork you receive from the broker? If you see any conflicting email addresses, mailing addresses, or phone numbers on the bill of lading, load board posting or broker-carrier agreement, that is a strong red flag. Also, if the instructions for contacting the broker don’t match the broker-carrier agreement or seem suspicious, you may want to tread cautiously. Keep in mind that you can always call the broker if you have questions about inconsistencies in contact information. You also can confirm brokers’ phone numbers at

6. No digital load tracking required 

Most broker-carrier agreements include information on how the freight broker or shipper wants to track the load digitally once it’s loaded on your truck. If the agreement itself doesn’t mention digital load tracking technology or this topic doesn’t come up in your phone conversations with the freight broker, that could be a red flag, too. Most, if not all, shippers and brokers want to track freight in real-time with a mobile app or ELD when the load is legitimate. 

7. Unable to verify freight broker’s status through F.M.C.S.A 

If anything about the load makes you uneasy or raises any doubt in your mind that it’s legitimate, you can always verify the freight broker’s status and other details with the FMCSA. You want to ensure the broker you’re dealing with has a current license and active surety bond (BMC-84) through the F.M.C.S.A. If you can’t find the broker’s license and active surety bond at the above link or the details don’t match what your contact has given you, these are definite red flags, as well. You always have the option of requesting a copy of the freight broker’s operating authority from the F.M.C.S.A.  

What do these load board red flags mean for carriers? 

If you ignore the above load board red flags or simply don’t notice them, you could very well become a victim of freight fraud. Transporting a double-brokered or fraudulent load will likely mean you won’t get paid for that load. Transporting multiple fraudulent loads can result in a significant loss of income and even threaten the long-term health of your business.  

Protect your business with broker credit checks 

If you don’t recognize these red flags and book the load anyway, your freight broker relationships may suffer as well. Often both the carrier and broker get burned by bad actors committing freight fraud in the industry.  

A great way to also avoid a loss of revenue due to freight fraud is to use  Triumph’s credit checking tool. Our expansive database can help you vet brokers and reduce your chances of experiencing fraud.  

For access to our industry-leading credit checking tool, learn more about our factoring services.