How to Fight Fuel Fraud

Fleets of all sizes face the prospect of losing revenue through fraud. However, technology available today makes it easier than ever to fight fuel fraud and achieve better control over operational expenses. Fleets should not consider fuel fraud a cost of doing business, no matter how small the loss or infrequent the incidents. With the combination of GPS tracking systems and fleet gas cards, managers can better fight fuel fraud and keep a business from ever losing money through theft. Companies such as Fleetcor offer fuel cards that give fleets an improved way to fight fuel fraud by quickly identifying employees who misuse a card. These cards give fleet managers better control over when and where drivers make purchases, and send alerts when drivers take a vehicle off a planned route.

Why Fight Fuel Fraud?

For every fleet, it’s worth the time and investment to plug any gaps in their operational system that allow employees to misuse cards and siphon cash from fleets by overspending on fuel. It’s an issue that’s been on the rise in recent years. Globally, fuel fraud costs companies millions of dollars every year. Fraud happens in a variety of ways. Some of the most popular include over-claiming business mileage, filling cans of fuel alongside a fleet vehicle when getting gas, or fueling a personal car using a company fuel card. There’s also what is known as “slippage,” which involves employees buying non-fuel items with a fuel card, such as food and drink. They then claim the entire expense as a fuel charge.

How Fuel Cards Fight Fuel Fraud

Most industry experts agree that fuel cards are the way to go for fleets that want to clamp down on fuel card-related fraud. Fuel cards address the issue in a number of different ways.

Tracking Purchases

Fuel cards are most effective when combined with telematics systems that track a vehicle’s location while the fuel card tracks vehicle expenses. This data gives fleets the ability to know the exact location and amount of each purchase. It also alerts them if a fuel card is used at a location where the vehicle is not present.

Restrictions

Fuel cards also allow managers to put restrictions on how drivers use cards. For example, they can limit fuel purchases by dollar amount, time of day, and number of transactions per day. Managers also can limit the amount of fuel pumped, ensuring that the amount pumped is not more than what the vehicle tank can hold.

Alerts

Managers can’t follow every vehicle all the time. Automated systems track fuel card purchases, sending alerts when, for example, a vehicle and fuel purchase location do not match or if the level of the vehicle’s tank at the time of card swipe is above a fuel level a fleet manager has defined.

Fleet Fuel Cards are Effective

Fleetcor reports that the company’s fuel cards have reduced fraud exposure for clients at the equivalent of 16,000 gallons for every one million gallons pumped. Fleetcor data also indicates that fuel fraud is an ongoing problem, with about five gallons of attempted fraud attempted every month per vehicle. They also report that among fleet managers:

  • 86 percent think some of their drivers commit fuel theft
  • 57 percent think improving practices to fight fuel fraud could reduce fuel spend by 5 percent or more
  • 41 percent think that at least 10 percent of their drivers commit some type of fuel fraud

One Fleetcor client, transportation yard company Lazer Spot, used Enhanced Authorization Controls to reduce fuel fraud. For example, the company put in proximity-based authorization and alerts on card use. They also cut off fueling when a vehicle’s tank capacity is reached. The digital tools offered through today’s fuel cards give fleets a better way to fight fuel fraud and protect a business from losing significant amounts of cash through theft. They provide a better way to identify employee misuse of fuel cards and put an end to the problem quickly.

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