The Best Way To Immediately Prevent Fuel Card Fraud in Your Fleet

Fuel card fraud is a big headache for fleet managers. It leads to massive financial losses and costly operational disruptions.

If you're starting to notice fuel transactions that don't align with your employees' fuel card usage, now might be a good time to look into it before things get out of control. 

Ready to tackle fuel card fraud and discover your ultimate fuel card management solution?

In this article, you will:

  • Understand the impact of automated fuel monitoring security
  • Explore the risks associated with fuel theft
  • Identify common types of fuel theft methods
  • Discover how a fleet management system like Cartrack can enhance security

Keeping tabs on your fleet's fuel

Many businesses either don’t know that they are experiencing fuel theft or aren’t using fuel monitoring software to properly track and identify instances of fuel card theft in their fleet. If fuel theft is not stopped in time, businesses are at risk of losing thousands in fuel costs monthly. Fuel monitoring and fleet management software are the answers to fuel theft and fuel card theft.

But before we discuss the solutions, let's explore the basics of fuel theft.

What is fuel theft?

Fuel theft is when someone takes fuel from vehicles without permission. In businesses, this can happen in different ways like syphoning or using unauthorised fuel cards. Businesses with a large fleet of vehicles can experience bigger more frequent fuel theft issues, causing them to lose a lot of money.

Common types of fuel theft

Fuel theft poses a challenge for businesses, and understanding common methods used is crucial for fuel theft prevention. There are several ways criminals steal fuel, here are a few popular trends:

  1. Syphoning

    This method is one of the most traditional. Thieves use a hose, syphon pump or in some cases, even their mouth to suck fuel directly from the vehicle's tank into a container. This type of fuel theft is more likely to occur at night or in secluded areas to avoid being noticed.
  2. False transactions

    This type of fuel theft occurs when gas station employees collude with thieves. The employee swipes the fuel card multiple times for a single transaction, resulting in multiple charges on the cardholder's account. This method is difficult to detect as transactions are coming from a valid fuel card and fuel sensors won’t detect any unusual activity because the tank was empty and needed a refill, justifying the purchase.
  3. Fuel card fraud

    Fuel card fraud occurs when unauthorised individuals obtain and use a company's fuel card to purchase fuel for their vehicles. This can be done by stealing a physical card, skimming card data at fuel stations, or using stolen card information to create fraudulent transactions online. These cloned cards can then be used to purchase fuel at any filling station.


Risks of fuel theft for businesses

Fuel theft can have a significant impact on businesses, affecting various aspects of operations. To put it more into perspective, here are 3 ways fuel theft can hurt a business:

  • Financial losses: Fuel theft can result in significant financial losses for businesses and organisations. The cost of replacing stolen fuel can be substantial, and the administrative time spent investigating and processing fraudulent transactions can be massively time-consuming and costly.
  • Damage to vehicles: Syphoning fuel can damage vehicle fuel tanks and lines, leading to costly repairs and downtime. Improper handling of fuel can also contaminate fuel systems, resulting in engine malfunctions and performance issues.
  • Safety concerns: Fuel theft often involves tampering with vehicle fuel systems, which can pose significant safety hazards. Leaks or spills can occur, and in extreme cases, the tampering can compromise the integrity of the fuel system, increasing the risk of fire or explosion.

How to prevent fuel card fraud with a fleet management system

Every fleet manager’s priority is to enhance the efficiency of their fleet and keep it running smoothly, but one of their greatest concerns is keeping fuel theft at bay. Every unauthorised swipe of a fuel card can significantly impact your business’s bottom line, making fuel card fraud prevention an essential aspect of fleet management.

A fleet management system can help fight against fuel card theft by implementing various security features and monitoring mechanisms, here’s how:

  1. Real-time alerts and monitoring: Fleet management systems can provide real-time alerts and monitoring of fuel transactions, allowing fleet managers to detect suspicious activities early on and respond quickly.
  2. Transaction limits and controls: These systems enable fleet managers to set spending limits, swipe limits, and regional restrictions for fuel cards at affiliated filling stations, preventing unauthorised transactions and limiting fraud exposure.
  3. GPS technology and proximity validation: Fleet management systems may use GPS technology and proximity validation to ensure that the location of the fuel purchase matches the location of the vehicle, helping to prevent unauthorised fuel transactions.
  4. Tank capacity alignment: This involves synchronising the approved fuel purchase limit with the actual tank capacity of each fleet vehicle. Fleet managers set predefined limits based on the vehicle's tank capacity. If a transaction exceeds the limit or the tank capacity, it's flagged for investigation.

As drivers attempt to refuel, the system instantly checks the transaction against these safety features and flags the transaction if it goes against set limits. Implementing these security measures enables fleet management systems to significantly reduce the risk of fuel card fraud and help protect your business from financial losses.


Trust in Cartrack USA for all your business’s fuel theft challenges

Here are a few ways Cartrack’s fleet management software can help you in your challenge against fuel theft:

Use LiveVision cameras to investigate fuel card theft events

Our smart cameras can be a valuable tool for fleet managers in investigating fuel card theft events. By providing real-time video footage and advanced analytics, these cameras can help identify potential suspects in fuel card theft or fuel syphoning events, gather evidence, and deter future thefts if criminals see visible cameras on fleet vehicles.

Automatically detect fuel theft with MiFleet

MiFleet is a cost management system that monitors all your fleet's administration and running costs, including speeding tickets, toll fees, licence renewal dates, maintenance, and of course fuel expenditure. In terms of fuel card theft, MiFleet analyses fuel card transactions and automatically cross-references them with your vehicle's telemetry data to quickly identify possible fuel theft risks.

What makes businesses love Cartrack's fuel monitoring system:

  • Its straightforward setup and swift transaction importation eradicate the need for manual administrative tasks. What used to take weeks to process can now be accomplished in approximately five minutes.
  • Its automated approach to risk reviews for fuel transactions helps swiftly detect potential cost leakages, effectively eliminating the possibility of human error.
  • Its actionable insights directly contribute to reducing the risks associated with fuel theft, resulting in significant operational cost savings.
  • Its ability to pinpoint fuel theft, creates awareness among drivers about being monitored, leading to a decrease in future fraudulent behaviour and its associated consequences.

Case study: How Cartrack assisted RichLand Logistics

RichLand Logistics delivers technology, petrochemical, consumer goods, manufacturing, oil and gas, and freight-forwarding services to South East Asia, with over 40,000 monthly deliveries.

Facing the challenge of efficiently tracking their fleet’s fuel usage to reduce operational costs and improve productivity, they turned to Cartrack.

Our fuel sensors provided valuable insights, allowing managers to identify efficient drivers and vehicles during deliveries. By evaluating l/km per vehicle and addressing unproductive idling and speeding, RichLand Logistics made strategic decisions to significantly cut down operational travel and overall fuel costs.

RichLand Logistics benefited from Cartrack's expertise and industry-leading solutions, let us do the same for your business. Choose Cartrack for unparalleled fleet management that ensures success.

Solve your business’s fuel card theft problem with Cartrack USA

Increase visibility on your fuel transaction and fuel consumption all with one comprehensive fleet management solution — Cartrack USA.

Implementing our security measures will not only significantly reduce fuel fleet costs but will also reduce the risk of fuel card theft.

Take the first step in saving your fuel, contact Cartrack USA today.

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