How to Prevent Fuel Card Fraud
With this year's uptick in fuel prices, the last thing you need to worry about is losing money from fuel card fraud, and monitoring transactions can be cumbersome and time consuming.
Is it worth it to review every little transaction? The good news is that you don’t have to. With the right systems and communication, you can prevent fraud from draining your bottom line.
What Is Fuel Card Fraud?
It's not like your staff can take a business gas card on a spending spree, so how exactly does fraud occur? Here are some examples of common fuel or fleet card fraud by employees:
- Using a business fuel card to fill up a personal vehicle
- Adding fuel to a side container for personal use when fueling a company vehicle
- Making unauthorized store or restaurant purchases at a truck stop
- Sharing a fuel card with unauthorized users
- Reporting a card stolen and using, sharing, or selling it
How Does Fuel Card Fraud Impact Your Business?
It can be daunting to realize that trusted employees and colleagues commit fraud, but it’s more common than you may realize. In a study on fraud conducted by Shell, more than 25% of drivers witnessed colleagues carrying out deceitful actions — it’s difficult to know how much fraud goes on undetected. 1
Fuel card fraud can impact your business significantly in two ways:
- Financial – Even minor transgressions, like adding a few personal items to a fuel stop, will add up. Consider a two-dollar cup of morning coffee. Over the course of a year, that tallies to $500 per driver.
- Morale – Fraud can deplete employees’ sense of respect for a company’s operations.
Financial damage is easy to quantify if you have the right tracking in place, but the damage to company reputation and service over time from disengaged and contemptuous employees may be even greater.
How to Prevent Fuel Card Fraud
We’ve looked at how it’s done and what the damage is. But how can you prevent it? Here are four key actions.
#1 Know Your Key Data
In order to identify when numbers are suspect, you need to know what your benchmarks are. Each vehicle record in your fleet should include:
- Fuel tank capacity in gallons
- Average or expected mileage rate
- Type of fuel required
Connecting your fleet fuel card records with your fleet management software will allow you to pinpoint unexpected numbers that may indicate fraud, such as:
- Odometer readings inconsistent with fuel purchases
- The type or amount of fuel purchase and whether it’s consistent with a vehicle’s fuel tank (or with the gas station's receipt)
- Unusual MPG readings
If numbers don’t add up, track down the problem — whether it’s an input error, honest mistake, or employee theft through fuel card misuse, you need to know why your data doesn’t make sense. It also helps to have a good relationship with fuel retailers so they can give you reports of fuel purchases from their database.
#2 Communicate to Your Team
One of the best things you can do for your team is to remove temptation from their paths. Knowing that software is calculating fuel consumption based on the vehicle, its load, route, and fuel prices will help them understand that petty theft or side fueling will not go undetected.
Be open about how fuel cards and fuel purchases are tracked and audited and how fuel fraud or other related errors are detected and dealt with at the company (and criminally). Open communication with your team can help with fleet card fraud prevention.
#3 Assign, Secure, and Limit Fuel Cards
In addition to allocating a fleet fuel card to each employee, opt for a program that allows you to assign a PIN to reinforce personal responsibility for purchases.
Consider limiting both per-transaction amounts and the number of daily transactions, either via fleet card programming or employee policy.
#4 Understand Fraud Opportunities and Prevention
Continue to keep an eye on fraud trends as technology changes, particularly through your fuel card provider and fleet management software.
Use Your Fuel Card Program to Prevent Fraud
Long gone are the days of crumpled receipts and cash allowances for fueling up on the road. Fleet managers can now rely on fuel cards to save time, provide direct fuel funding, and prevent fuel theft.
By tracking purchases and connecting fuel card information with your fleet data, you can identify irregularities right away and maintain long-term records to correlate fuel costs to assigned vehicles, load weights, driving routes, and your delivery management routines.
The AtoB fuel card can also keep your fee-based costs down. With no hidden fees and the ability to use your fuel card for multiple purposes, you can rely on our fuel cards to benefit your business.
Upgrade your AtoB card to keep track of repairs and parts, road tolls, insurance, and more by using an AtoB secured gas card at any vendor that accepts Visa cards. Your drivers won’t be limited by searching for a particular chain. Instead, they can shop by local price or by distance in urgent situations.
Our flexible, easy-to-start fuel card program is a hit with clients from large-fleet organizations to single owner-operators. Aside from applying for a fuel card, find out if your business qualifies for a fuel tax credit to help save on diesel and gasoline. Ready to learn more? Get started with an AtoB fuel card today.
Learn more about our secured gas card by reading our AtoB Fuel Card Reviews.
1 Shell. Fraud Matters.https://www.shell.co.uk/business-customers/fraud-matters.html