Hold the phone, students; N.C. instructor sees scam reappear

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 10/8/2013

It’s bad enough for trucking newbies to digest the realities of federal hours-of-service requirements and handling of lumpers and dispatchers.

At least one individual is apparently using a familiar scam to take their cash.

According to a college instructor, at least one individual is targeting recent trucking school grads in a scam by dangling the promise of a job.

Fred Stamey, coordinator and lead instructor at Sampson Community College in Clinton, N.C., said he received a phone call Monday, Oct. 7, from a man calling himself “Michael Davis.” The man told Stamey he worked as a recruiter for Marten Transport and needed new drivers. 

All students needed to do, the man said, was send a money order and meet a driver to get a ride to company orientation. The money, he said, would be refunded at orientation.

“He said he needed them ‘as soon as I can get them,’” Stamey told Land Line. “He wanted them to send him a money order for $150 immediately. Of course, once they send that money order it’s a done deal.”

Stamey said the man struggled to give answers to specific questions. While recognizing the man’s Georgia-based area code, Stamey asked him where his office was.

“He said, ‘we have terminals throughout North America,’” Stamey said. 

Marten Transport had no connection to Davis, Stamey later learned.

The more the two men spoke, Stamey recognized his voice and his sales pitch from a call last winter. In that call, the man claimed he was hiring drivers for Conway Freight.

In the previous instance, Stamey said he tried contacting both local police and the Federal Trade Commission to spur an investigation into the scam. He remembered the man’s phone number coming up disconnected within two weeks of that call last winter.

After taking the call Monday, Stamey contacted the Springfield, Va.-based Commercial Vehicle Training Association. CVTA sent an alert to its members, warning them to make driving students aware of the scam.

“Please be sure to warn all your staff and students that carriers do not require funds up-front for a job,” the alert reads.

The scam may gain traction due to the large number of recruiting calls many legitimate trucking companies make seeking drivers at trucking schools. 

Stamey, who spent 20 years driving truck before teaching at the community college, said he’s seen similar scams target new drivers. Though his 350-hour driving course covers driving, truck maintenance and other standard topics, Stamey said he also tries to sprinkle in warnings about scams from the industry’s shady side.

He warned drivers not to wire money to any prospective employer.

“No company is going to request you send them money,” Stamey said Tuesday. “That’s an immediate red flag.”

Unfortunately, he said, some students will learn when they never hear back from the scam artists.

“I wish they could catch these people,” he said. “Hopefully we can put the word out.”

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