Fuel theft by employee fraud is a serious problem that affects fleets nationwide. However, many companies remain willfully ignorant of this possible expense.
It is natural to assume that every driver in your employ is a good, honest person who would never steal from the company, but numbers prove otherwise. Recent research shows that up to 25 percent of all fuel claims could be exaggerated, and that does not even begin to address purchases that are not accounted for at all.
Drivers may choose to make fraudulent purchases because their company has never detected or punished the practice before, or because the price of fuel has become so high that they cannot afford to fill up their personal vehicles. And the costs don’t just come in small amounts every now and then; one Baltimore public works employee was caught after stealing upwards of $1 million in fuel from the city.
So how can you tell if your fleet is at risk for fuel fraud, and what can you do to stop it? First, examine the way your drivers pay for fuel:
- Does your company require receipts for every purchase?
- Do you record every vehicle’s odometer reading at each fill-up?
- Do you drivers bring itemized receipts for purchases?
- Do you have a system in place to prevent personal vehicle fueling?
If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, then your fleet is at risk for fuel fraud. The only way to ensure that fraud does not end up costing your business is to catch it immediately. Make sure that every gallon of fuel is accounted for by your drivers without any room to slip a few gallons here and there. Look out for extra purchases made at service stations such as food and drink, and check fuel consumption against vehicle odometers to see if your drivers are buying more fuel than the vehicle needs.
Keeping a close eye on your fuel expenses will ensure that your fuel money stays in your tanks and not in your employees’ pockets. FleetCards USA provides a wide variety of purchasing controls and reporting options that can identify fraudulent spending immediately and stop drivers from buying any more fuel than you allow. Visit fleetcardsusa.com for more info on how a fleet card can save you money.
Photo courtesy of Alberto Alerigi and re-used under the Creative Commons license.