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Fuel Fraud Unmasked: A Costly Threat to UK Businesses

Fuel fraud is becoming a growing concern in the UK, creating challenges for businesses. From the manipulation of fuel cards to the creation of elaborate schemes, the realm of fuel fraud poses a significant threat to the economy. In this blog post, we delve into the alarming statistics, shed light on how these deceptive practices damage businesses and explore effective strategies for protection.

Fuel Card Fraud

The convenience of fuel cards is undeniable. It removes the hassle of tracking receipts and places trust in employees to purchase fuel independently. However, theft is an unfortunate part of our reality.

Company drivers commit fuel card fraud when they misuse their access to business fuel cards for personal gain. This misuse can range from fueling personal vehicles and buying non-fuel items to siphoning and reselling fuel, often leading to significant financial losses for businesses. You might notice that a certain driver is purchasing fuel that exceeds their vehicle’s fuel tank capacity; another might be fueling up during off hours.

Common Examples of Fuel Card Fraud:

Fuelling Personal Vehicles

This method involves the drivers using the company’s fuel card to fill their personal vehicles.

While the deception per transaction may seem small, the cumulative effect over time can significantly inflate the company’s fuel expenses.

Siphoning Fuel

A bolder type of fraud happens when someone fills up the company vehicle and takes some of the fuel for themselves by using personal containers.

The fuel, which the company paid for, is then either used by the driver for their personal vehicles or sold to make a fast profit.

Purchasing Non-Fuel Items

Occasionally, employees exploit the fact that fuel cards are accepted at convenience stores within fuel stations. They use the card to buy personal items such as snacks and automotive supplies. This not only increases your company’s expenses but also extends the realm of fraud beyond fuel-related transactions.

Compromised Fuel Cards

Shell has reported that incidents of fuel card fraud extend to the delivery process, with 25% of fleet managers claiming that fuel card details get stolen in the post whilst on the way to the customer. This poses a significant problem in the UK, as businesses face fraudulent activities even before receiving their fuel cards. This type of fraud could slip under the radar, given that the cards’ security is compromised without detection.

Indicators of Fuel Card Fraud:

Multiple Transactions in a Short Time Frame

You may notice a driver fuelling their tank and then coming back to either the same or a different fuel station shortly afterward for another fill-up.

This behavior signals potential fraud, suggesting that the driver might be extracting fuel for personal benefit.

Fuel Purchases Exceeding Tank Capacity

It is important to be aware of each driver’s vehicle tank capacity. If fuel purchases exceed the specified tank capacity, it is a warning sign.

In this case, the driver may be either side-fuelling a spare container for personal use or receiving cash for the surplus amount, beyond the cost of a full tank, from the fuel counter.

Inconsistent Vehicle Mileage

Compare fuel card transaction data with the recorded mileage of company vehicles. Significant differences between fuel purchases and actual mileage could indicate fuel diversion or unauthorised usage of the company’s fuel resources.

Fuelling Outside of Expected Routes or Times

If your company operates in specific regions, be cautious of fuel card transactions occurring in unexpected or distant locations, especially outside of typical working hours. Unexplained purchases in areas far from regular routes or job sites may signal potential fraudulent activities.

How to Tackle Fuel Card Fraud?

Having learned how to identify potential fraud, the next step is preventing it from occurring in the first place.

Purchase Cybersecurity Software

Investing in cybersecurity software can provide an additional layer of protection against potential threats. However, this solution may come with considerable costs. The expenses associated with purchasing and maintaining cybersecurity software could strain a company’s budget, especially for smaller businesses.

Consistently Monitor Fuel Transactions

Regularly monitoring fuel transactions is key to identifying any anomalies or suspicious activities. This involves manually checking receipts and transactions, which, while effective, can be a time-consuming process. This manual approach may also increase the risk of oversight due to human error.

Issue Fuel Cards with Pin Numbers

Consider implementing an additional layer of protection through assigning a unique PIN to each driver, known exclusively to them.

While this approach allows you to trace every transaction back to the individual driver via their unique PIN, this method carries inherent risks. Drivers may still choose to take the risk and engage in fraudulent activities despite the PIN security measures in place.

How to Eliminate the Fraud Risk Completely?

There are measures you can take to prevent fraud, but why try to reduce the risk when you can eliminate it completely?

Simply ditch your fuel cards!

With Fuelmii’s innovative fuel delivery service, you eliminate all types of fuel fraud, take control of your fuel spend and track every single transaction on a fuel management portal in real-time.

Every drop of fuel dispensed into your vehicles is recorded onto our fuel management portal ‘FuelSight’, and you only ever get charged for the amount of fuel we deliver.

No delivery charge, full transparency, and no unpleasant surprises.

Our well-trained drivers deliver fuels to your tanks and vehicles at your preferred location and time, so that your drivers can focus on their job.

Get in touch to protect your business today.

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