Preventing Fuel Fraud
Even though fuel prices have comedown somewhat recently, they are still near a three-year high. That means everybody is looking for ways to save a few dollars at the pump. Unfortunately, instead of utilizing our Tips for Reducing Fuel Cost, some dishonest individuals will inevitably attempt to game the system to the point of committing outright fraud or theft. A recent article by Automotive Fleet highlighted the different types of fuel fraud that’s prevalent in the fleet industry. In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the steps that you and your drivers can take to protect yourselves at the pump.
What the Company Can Do:
Consider Introducing Fuel Cards
Many organizations with employees on the road simply give their drivers a company credit card to use for expenses. Whether its fuel, maintenance, or business lunches, all expenses are charged to a single card, and an expense report is turned in with receipts. The potential problem with this approach is that it doesn’t offer the company much in terms of control, and as a result, can lead to misuse.
Conversely, a fuel card mitigates the potential for misuse by allowing the company to set parameters for their drivers. Limits can be placed on things such as the fuel type used, the number of transactions per day or week, the amount spent per transaction or day, and more can all be predetermined by the company.
Establish and Safeguard Individual PINs
Unlike credit card transactions, which can simply be swiped and signed for, fuel cards allow you to assign each recipient an individual PIN. If you elect to issue fuel cards, make sure that the assigned PINs are unique and not something that can be easily ascertained, such as an employee ID number. Additionally, it’s imperative to stress the fact that employees should never share their PIN with any unauthorized individuals.
Hold Training Sessions
Education is key in helping to prevent fuel fraud. Hold periodic training sessions with drivers to instruct them on topics such as what constitutes fuel fraud, how to properly utilize their fuel cards (if applicable), what documentation they need to retain and/or submit, how to identify external threats such as card skimmers, and what to do if a potential problem arises.
Stay on Top of Administrative Tasks
Whether your drivers utilize a company credit card or a fuel card, it’s crucial to stay on top of tasks such as tracking any driver or vehicle changes, canceling PINs when necessary, retrieving cards from drivers leaving the company, properly destroying cards that are no longer in use, and canceling lost or stolen cards. It may seem obvious, but we have seen countless instances where these tasks go undone and a problem arises as a result.
What Drivers Can Do:
Protect Your Cards and PINs
Treat your company-issued credit card or fuel card as you would with your own personal card. Don’t leave your PIN written down somewhere that’s accessible to others. Don’t give out your PIN to anyone not authorized to have it. Protect your PIN from the view of others. Keep your card in a safe location and verify that the information is correct on any receipt prior to signing it. If your card is lost or stolen, or if you believe someone may have access to your PIN, report it immediately.
Adhere to Company Guidelines
Your company has specific rules and regulations in place for a reason. One of the easiest ways to eliminate the appearance of any impropriety is to stay compliant Utilize your card only when appropriate, keep all necessary documentation, submit any required reporting to the appropriate parties, and immediately report any discrepancies.
Look Out for External Threats
Drivers are the first line of defense when it comes to avoiding external fuel fraud threats. Thieves are getting clever and have developed ways to steal your information without ever physically handling your card. One of the most common ways that they do this is via a card skimmer. A card skimmer is a device that is placed over a credit card slot that records all of your card information. To the untrained eye, it is nearly undetectable, however there are certain things that you should be on the lookout for. This article does a great job of explaining how to spot and avoid card skimmers. However, the bottom line is that if something doesn’t feel right, simply move on to another station. It isn’t worth the risk.