Ask AFS – Our Experts Weigh In On Your Most Pressing Questions

I’ve begun receiving e-mails from some of my LTL freight carriers and other transportation carriers saying that they’re moving to a new method of bill payment, complete with a new set of remittance instructions. Are they legit?

The answer is almost definitely no.

You may have seen these e-mails, supposedly from the CEO or owner of a business requesting a wire transfer, ACH, or other monetary transaction, only to determine that the email is fraudulent. But does your finance team apply the same diligence when it receives an e-mail from contacts such as your LTL freight carriers, lead logistics provider or other freight service providers? They should.

According to our banking sources, there’s recently been a 1,000 percent increase in fraudulent e-mail activity – so much so that companies reported $15 million worth of fraudulent activity during the month of June alone, including $7 million that was unable to be recovered. Just as important, many of these e-mails have gotten considerably more official-looking, including being from what appears to be a known contact from your supplier or vendor. Even if it looks legit, do not assume that it is!

So before you click on that new payment link, start sending checks to that new remittance address, or change routing information for electronic payments, call your carrier, 3PL or vendor account rep to verify the e-mail’s authenticity. Also, be sure to use the contact numbers on your own phone list, not the ones provided in the e-mail; many scammers have also been smart enough to create their own “call centers.”

We’ll provide more guidance from AFS’s IT department about how to protect your company from this type of fraud soon. 

Meanwhile, a word to the wise: If you ever get such an unsolicited e-mail from AFS informing you of a change in remittance instructions, feel free to hit the delete button. We will always notify you of any significant operational or financial changes via a personal call from one of your trusted AFS contacts first and then follow up with written instructions.

What’s your take on the potential supply chain impacts of the Delta Variant of COVID? Could it have the same impact on operations and businesses that the original strain of COVID-19 did?

Wow. Thanks for the “easy” question.

While there are no simple solutions to this ongoing crisis, our best piece of advice is to plan for this new COVID strain to result in higher levels of absenteeism in your workplace – and at your suppliers’ workplaces. Why? Because approximately half of the country is still not fully vaccinated, and the Delta variant is considerably more contagious than its predecessor. 

In addition, expect your employees who do contract the Delta variant (and possibly the Lambda one that’s also garnering attention) to be out of the workplace longer than those who were infected by the previous COVID strain, because hospitalization rates for Delta are currently higher.  

In light of this, it’s never too early to begin mapping out a Plan B, C or D for how you’ll continue to keep your most critical positions filled in the coming months. Will you be developing a flex force of contractors who can fill in at a moment’s notice? Have you established a great working relationship with a temp agency and have them on speed dial? Or do you have plans to have more of your people continue working remotely?

Give us a shout and let us know how you’re planning to address this challenge. Just as important, let AFS know how we can be of help. After all, at the end of the day, we really are all in this together.

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ATTENTION

AFS is directing carriers and customers to direct all inbound invoices to [email protected] or via established electronic submission, such as EDI or eSubmit to avoid processing delays due to the impacts of the COVID-19 countermeasures and service interruptions at the United States Postal Service.

Carriers should contact Carrier Support via email at [email protected] in lieu of calls. We have added additional resources and later hours to assist you and email will serve as the method for fastest response. Please send an aging report with your inquiry so that we may provide you the most current status.

Thank you!