Fuel fraud – just how serious is it?
It seems like everyone in the industry is talking about fuel fraud suddenly. So why is it such a hot topic?
It’s no surprise that fuel fraud reports seem to be increasing year over year. In fact, based on our reports, fraudulent transactions and compromised fuel cards nearly doubled in 2016 from the previous year. That trend continued into 2017 and doubled once again—this time within the first three quarters.
Now, as we near the close of 2017, we are on track to see an estimated additional 88% increase over the first three quarters in the fourth quarter alone. This is likely due in part to the recent hurricanes and other natural disasters leaving many pumps isolated and vulnerable to fraudsters for long periods of time.
While it is difficult to pin-point a specific number of skimming incidents, officials throughout the country have reported a dramatic increase. According to the National Association for Convenience Stores, one compromised pump can capture an average of 100 cards per day. With the number of affected pumps on the rise, the impacted card total can add up very quickly.
So why the sharp rise in the final quarter in what has been a concerning yet steady issue? And what does all of this mean for you?
Put simply, fuel fraud is indisputably on the rise, and will likely continue to be a major issue for some time. Gas stations are a particularly vulnerable target for fraudsters as they are one of the only providers that have not been mandated by the federal government to update their card readers to chip technology—making them susceptible to tampering and fraud.
To combat that, your LeasePlan team is working closely with WEX and fuel card providers to monitor fraud reports and skimming at stations. Once the numbers have been compiled, we provide a detailed report of your fleet back to you. We also strive to provide you with valuable resources to inform and protect both yourself and your drivers.
Although it seems like fuel fraud is an inevitable issue for drivers, there are some additional tips that your fleet can implement to keep them less susceptible. We’ve all heard the basics about protecting PIN information and identifying pumps that appear damaged or tampered with, but few people realize that one of the simplest ways to avoid fuel fraud is to pay inside the gas station. Most fraud occurs at the pump itself, so by making the purchase inside, you avoid the greatest potential for skimmers altogether. This simple preventative measure could save your fleet from becoming a victim of fuel fraud.
How is your fleet protected from fraudulent charges?
The moment a skimmer has been detected at a specific pump, all cards that have used that pump — whether fraudulent activity has appeared yet or not — are reported as compromised, and then terminated, to prevent potential fraud.
While we know how frustrating it can be to learn that a driver’s card has been terminated due to fraud, our primary goal is protecting you and your fleet. With such drastic increases over the past several months, it is highly likely that your fleet has been impacted, and we want to help.
If you are the victim of fuel fraud — you are not alone. The moment we detect fraudulent activity, we will terminate the card, contact you to let you know what has happened and issue a replacement card. Your primary responsibility at that time is to notify the driver of the compromised fuel card and complete appropriate documents so that our team can begin working toward recovering your funds for you. We encourage you to utilize our 24/7 support for anyone experiencing issues with their fuel cards, or if you simply have questions.