A day in the life of a fuel management bureau operator Q&A part 2

We talked to a fuel management bureau operator to find out how they work to save money for their customers. In part two we find out what the steps are to preventing fuel fraud for your fleet company, how often fuel fraud occurs, what kind of process to follow if it does, and what the internal controls are.


Am I right in saying that part of your job is identifying fuel fraud?


Finding fraud? Yes, we identify potential fraud. It differs from month to month, we have high fraud volumes and other months we have fewer transactions. December is a high volume time for fraud - criminals take advantage of the craziness around the holiday season.  People get bonuses, spend more and are less vigilant and this causes a spike in crime rates.

If you look at figures from over the past few months, you can see how it fluctuates.  In January this year we were able to detect and prove R14 935 worth of fraudulent transactions. In February it was even higher, with R19 750 worth of fraudulent transactions.  March we reflected a much lower figure of just R2 551 worth of fraud.  In April it spiked again and we were able to prove R25 844 worth of fraud. May was a great month for us.  Two of our bureau operators’ were able to identify cloned fuel cards.When there is a cloned fuel card in the play, it can be swiped two or three times a day.  You need to understand that fraudsters just want the cash and they will try to get as much as they can from the cloned fuel card before it is discovered.  One of our operators identified approximately R18 000 worth of fraudulent transactions on just one cloned fuel card and the other operator identified fraudulent transactions to the tune of R30 000 from a cloned fuel card.  On these two fuel cards alone, we were able to identify R55 000 in fraudulent transactions.

The important thing to note here is that we send alerts of all potential fuel fraud to customers, and urge them to be familiar with their various staff members’ refueling patterns.  The more vigilant they are, the quicker we can pick up potential fuel fraud, theft or abuse.  Fuel fraud and theft can happen in instances were even the fuel card holder is unaware.

The three most common methods of fraud we see are inflated fuel card transactions, which happen frequently, cloned fuel cards, and private fill ups, where people fill their private vehicle using company fuel cards.  In the case of the last method, we can often identify this fairly easily as we receive a low transaction and when queried, we find a different registration number is used than that linked to the fuel card.


What is the process you follow after you have identified fraud?


After we identify fraud we first need to follow up.  For example when we have received the slips and a driver actually admits to siphoning fuel, we will encourage the customer to call the driver and, if possible, to get all the evidence together.

We encourage customers to make criminal cases against these offenders, but unfortunately many of the small fraud cases do not get a satisfactory outcome.  Customers are often discouraged by the fact that they will spend days and days in court often resulting in offenders only receiving a warning.  We don’t dictate how to handle these situations but we do encourage them to follow through with the legal procudure.

To help prevent crime, we encourage our customers not to allow drivers to swap fuel cards.  If this practice is allowed, transactions become unmanageable making fraud more difficult to detect.


Thanks for taking the time to talk to us and telling us about the important work you do as a fuel management bureau operator.

Avis Fleet have many solutions that will save your company money and make your life easier. Check out the fuel management solution here.

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