The Business of Independent Service Provider Contracting

Fuel Fraud Warning Signs

Posted by Ben Weil on 1/10/21 9:15 AM

Fuel Fraud

Today's blog post is brought to you by our friends at Fleetcor.

As a Contractor, the work seems simple, deliver packages on time and customers will be happy.

It’s not always that easy, there’s an operational side to your business, the public never sees, that is just as important to your success. One example is managing fuel spend. Fuel fraud and misuse can tank your profits, and it’s not always glaringly obvious when it’s occurring, so it pays to introduce regular monitoring controls.

Keeping a watchful eye on expense trends can help catch fuel fraud early, before perpetrators have a chance to rack up extensive charges.

Monitor your business data for these signals that can tip you off to fuel card fraud, fuel theft, and other issues:

  1. Fuel fill-ups happen too frequently. Internal fuel fraud may involve siphoning gas out of a company truck or van, filling up the tank of a personal car on the company fuel card, or driving a fleet vehicle for personal use. Watch for frequent fill-ups when checking receipts and your fuel card reports.
  2. Fuel charges don't match mileage or tank capacity. Fuel purchases that are out of line with miles driven on the company vehicle, or with tank capacity, may also indicate fraud.
  3. You spot a charge from an odd location. Most regional drivers will fuel up at the same gas station, or handful of stations, based on their daily habits and routes. Keep tabs on gas station locations and look for purchases at any filling station where your drivers don't normally stop. Such a charge may be a red flag for external fraud. 

As a small business owner or fleet manager, it can be tricky to spot trends early if you rely on paper receipts and log books. A fuel card program’s back-end reporting and analytics make it easy to run reports, spot fueling anomalies, and take swift action to stop fraud.

Many fuel card programs include real-time monitoring and alerts; plus, you’ll have the ability to turn cards on and off immediately from your desktop or a mobile app.


Putting the brakes on fuel fraud.

While it’s important to know how to spot fraud, it’s best to prevent fuel fraud before it happens. Prevention saves you money, and helps you avoid the hassle of dealing with the aftermath of fuel card fraud.

Fortunately, fuel cards offer controls and fuel theft solutions that will allow you to crack down on fuel fraud. The Fuel Management Program offered by eTruckBiz can easily accomplish this and more for you.

Here are six steps you can take to help prevent fuel fraud in your business:

  1. Require driver PINs. A fuel card can be assigned to a driver or assigned to a vehicle. By assigning a card and its unique PINs to each driver, you can easily track who made each purchase and spot abnormal activity linked to one driver. Tell your drivers to never share or reveal PINs to anyone else.
  2. Set a dollar limit on fuel spend. Fuel cards allow you to set a maximum amount of fuel a driver can purchase each day. Putting this cap in place will give the driver just enough room to fill up the tank of the fleet vehicle without any leeway for fraud.
  3. Cap the number of daily fueling trips. Think of how many times a day your drivers should be fueling up. Limiting the number of fuel purchases allowed per day can reduce internal and external fraud. For example, if your driver fueled up and then accidentally left the card at the gas station, a fraudster would be unable to make a second purchase that day.
  4. Limit purchases by type of fuel. Do your vehicles operate on diesel? By allowing the purchase of diesel fuel only, you reduce the chances that a driver could buy extra fuel for a personal gasoline vehicle. Putting this limit in place also makes it less likely that a compromised card will be used to make fuel purchases.
  5. Restrict fueling days and times. Another control that can deter fraud is to allow purchases only on specific days or at specific times. For example, you can allow fuel charges during on-the-clock hours only and disallow them on evenings, weekends and holidays. Of course, you’ll need to set these time windows based on your company and driver schedules.
  6. Integrate fuel cards with a vehicle’s GPS or telematics solution. A fuel card integrated with a GPS can make it easier to identify potential fuel card fraud by flagging suspicious transactions.1,2,3 It can help you reduce fleet expenses by giving the business a way to compare fuel costs for different vehicles to detect possible inefficiencies.1,2,3 It also simplifies tracking and reporting fuel purchases by vehicle for regulatory compliance, like IFTA reporting.1,2,4

A card holder is at risk for fraud, but a business with vehicles as assets, faces a higher risk of becoming a target, especially when employee expenses are involved.

A fuel card program offers protection, control, and oversight that may stop your business from falling victim to fuel fraud.

1 Only when integrated with a telematics solution and data is available.

2 Only when fuel card integration is available.

3 The integration of a fuel card with a telematics solution cannot predict or prevent all fraudulent transactions.

4 Reports vary by telematics solution.

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Topics: Business Planning, FedEx, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Business, Metrics, Fuel

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