A weighbridge fraud may be difficult to detect for industrial companies but it does impact them on the long run with high financial losses. In terms of the long run now let’s take the example of a plant in the food industry consuming several hundred tons of cereals every day, all year long. The cereals are delivered by trucks with a payload of 30 tons. A driver of one of these trucks manipulates the weighbridge by 80 kg by getting out of his truck while it is weighed empty. In this way, the cereal seller will sell around 16 dollars of cereal which have not been delivered, which may sound normal compared to the truck payload. But if this driver does this at every delivery, 4 times a day, 250 days per year, the fraud will cost 16,000 dollars per year to the plant. And if other drivers do the same thing, the prejudice will soon reach lakhs to millions of rupees…
So, as to that here we present some of the main risks of weighbridge-related frauds and some best practices to prevent them.
Cheat 1 – Load Cell Tampering
Unfortunately, tampering with load cells is becoming a popular way of cheating the truck scale. This cheat could go undetected for months before a scale operator is aware of the problem, costing the company thousands of dollars.
- involves tampering with the load cell itself, cables in the system or the junction box.
- a device is added at a point in the system, allowing the weight to be increased or decreased to the truck drivers’ benefit.
- driver can return to the scale under the cover of night, affix the device to the scale and cheat until the device is discovered.
Cheat 2 – Improper Positioning
The most common way to cheat at the truck scale is also the simplest–improper positioning of the truck on the weighbridge. A bad positioning on the weighbridge during the outward weighing will decrease the truck weight with the following consequence:
- decreasing the load weight when the fraudster purchases the materials
- decreasing the truck tare weight and increasing the quantity of products delivered by the fraudster
Cheat 3 – Lighten the load
It is most common at sites with two-pass transactions and when there is some distance between the scale and where loading or unloading occurs.
- driver may unload a part of his load on his way, in a hidden warehouse or directly to a buyer.
Cheat 4 – Altering Data
The most direct is the intentional altering of data collected at the scale.
- variation of data altering can occur if the data-management software used is insecure and susceptible to hacking.
- scale-house attendant works with one or more drivers to alter data to the drivers’ benefit, and the attendant then gets a cut of the profits.
Cheat 5 – Disappearing Goods
Most common at companies that have a dedicated fleet of trucks that run the same route all day.
- Driver begin to steal a small amount of product from each load and in order to not get caught, he steals only a small amount at first from each loaded truck, dumping it in a secret location they can return to later.
How to prevent it?
- Installing guide rails will avoid the risk of bad positioning along the weighbridge.
- To prevent and detect the bad positioning, security cams or sensors will help the weighing operator to make sure that the truck is placed correctly.
- Put in a secure breach-detection technology which will alert the scale owner at the first sign of tampering or damage
- Control the duration of transport between both sites, and check the abnormally long trips which may be due to a fraudulent unloading.
- If the company has its own transport service, install GPS trackers on the vehicles, always respecting the regulation and notifying the drivers.
- Register the vehicles registrations at each weighing, to detect the multiple deliveries within a too short timing.
- Take an automatic photography of each vehicle weighed.
- Define an unloading circuit within the factory, avoiding the loaded vehicles to be weighed twice.
- Implement an automatic control of the payloads, to detect the deliveries with equal payloads
- Vehicle positioning systems
- Implement a safe weighing IT system, which keeps the track of any modification.
- Implement a procedure regarding the access to the systems, with a single username and password of each operator.
- Keep the weighing tickets for later controls.