WICHITA, Kan. (AP) To steal huge shipments of valuable cargo, thieves are turning to a deceptively simple tactic: They pose as truckers, load the freight onto their own semitrailers and drive away with it.

It’s an increasingly common form of commercial identity theft that has allowed con men to make off each year with millions of dollars in merchandise, often food and beverages. And experts say the practice is growing so rapidly that it will soon become the most common way to steal freight.

Helping to drive the scams, experts say, is the Internet, which offers thieves easy access to vast amounts of information about the trucking industry. Online databases allow con artists to assume the identities of legitimate freight haulers and to trawl for specific commodities they want to steal.

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