3D-printed fake seals being used to mask cargo thefts

May 29, 2016 — Leave a comment

Cargo thieves have used 3D printers to make fake security seals to hide when a shipment has been compromised.

In some cases the cloned seals are so ingenious they even match the identification numbers on the original, according to third-party logistics organisation SpedLogSwiss, which reports an incident in which the scam was used in the theft of a pharmaceutical shipment.

In 3D printing, three-dimensional work pieces are built up in layers on relatively cheap devices. This construction is done by computer control of one or more liquid or solid materials. Typical materials are synthetic resins, plastics, ceramics and metals. This new technology opens up new possibilities in the manufacture of products. The advantages of this technology have now been discovered by organized crime.

A victim of seal counterfeiting has provided the following images to raise the awareness of other freight forwarders and shippers. In the below incident, a shipment of pharmaceutical goods loaded in a container was sealed with an intact shipper seal (Figure 1) and a seal from the shipping transport company was also applied to the container (Figure 2):

 

Security seals

Upon arrival of the container at the end customer dock, the seals were removed and the container opened. It was then found that most of the load had been stolen in transit. The original seals had been removed during transport, the goods were removed, and the container was resealed with new, but fake seals. (Figure 3)

Security seals1

“The advantages of this technology have already been discovered by the organized crime,” says SpedLogSwiss, which notes that some 3D printers can prepare the fake seals in as little as 10 minutes.

The organization has issued a circular describing the incident in order to raise awareness of the issue.

According to freight security specialist Freightwatch International, there were just over 500 thefts in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in the second quarter of 2015.

Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France, the UK, Austria, South Africa, Spain and Russia topped the list of countries affected, with electronics, clothing and accessories, food and drink the most stolen product categories. Source: www.securingindustry.com

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