Fuel Fraud: a real problem for fleet managers

fueling your car

Fleet managers have all manner of costs to manage, and fuel is just one of them. However, fuel fraud has become a serious issue especially since the advent of the Fuel Card and the increasing pressure to go cashless for payments, for convenience and monitoring purposes. With most Fuel Card options it is possible to set up a system that requires all of your drivers to enter a personal identification number before they can fuel their vehicle.

Fuel Card usage in the commercial transport sector is increasing year on year and as it goes up so do the incidences of fraud. Every year Shell Fuel Cards are used to make approximately 260 million transactions around the world, so that is a lot of scope for fraudulent activity.

Shell’s research report Fraud Matters, looked into how fleet managers view fuel fraud. It found that 65% of UK fleet managers see fuel-related fraud as a major issue for their business and this makes it something that needs to be acted on.

The research report was commissioned by Shell and it surveyed fleet managers in countries around the world, including here in the UK. 48% of all surveyed agreed they needed to do more personally to tackle the huge problem fuel fraud is becoming and defeating the problem could result in savings of more than 5% for many businesses.

The report also took into account the responses of drivers themselves and found that 26% of drivers had seen a colleague behaving fraudulently, with siphoning of fuel amongst the top criminal practices. Managers also listed paying with fuel with cash to hide the purchase of additional items and card cloning as problem practices.

Protect your Fleet from Fuel Fraud

There are a number of ways that fleet managers can protect again fuel fraud, including:

Put PINs in Place

With most Fuel Card options it is possible to set up a system that requires all of your drivers to enter a personal identification number before they can fuel their vehicle. Entering personal information before getting fuel out of a pump means the pump will record who has fuelled up and it makes it much more difficult for drivers to swap cards as it will be easily checked and discovered.

Put Fuel Limits in Place

Many Fuel Cards have the option of pre-funding, so drivers can only top up a certain amount. Alternatively, you can limit the amount that can be topped up which will stop drivers from being able to siphon off fuel or share their fuel allowance and still be able to complete their route.

Make Consequences Clear

Fraud is a criminal offence but it is so prevalent amongst professional drivers that it may not be considered as seriously as it should be. Educate all of your drivers how detrimental it is to the company to be committing fuel fraud but also how it can risk their jobs.

Regularly Check Frequency of Fill Ups

If a driver is found to be stopping multiple times on a route or a single day, then there is a chance something untoward is going on. Double billing can occur as an administrative error but if you keep a close check on the frequency of your fleets fill ups then you’ll soon spot any anomalies.

Cross Check Logs and Fuel Receipts

Some drivers may think they can get away with fuel fraud by simply not providing you with the bigger picture but if you’re on top of your records, they are bound to be caught out. Examine all bills and statements carefully and match them up with your receipts. This will soon show up any causes for alarm and allow you to take the correct action to ensure any fraudulent behaviour is stopped.

Owning a business where you rely upon your fleet and its drivers to succeed comes with many instances where you have to put your trust in others. When this trust is abused then it can be difficult to work out how to go forward and there is no denying fuel fraud is a huge breach of trust as well as a criminal offence. Doing all you can to prevent it happening and catch those guilty of it is the best way to avoid fuel fraud becoming a real issue for your company.

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