Fuel fraud committed by company car and van drivers is rising as petrol and diesel prices rocket, our research suggests.
With fuel now costing £6 a gallon and raw material costs driving up the price of most vehicle parts, such as tyres, we are hearing increasing numbers of reports about theft and fraud in the fleet sector.
Fuel theft through siphoning of tanks is being reported throughout the country. Petrol stations are clearly at risk, but HGV operators and anyone with a fuel storage tank on site is also a target. Even cars are being targeted in some cases.
But this isn’t just the work of criminal gangs, as white and blue collar crime can be just as costly.
For example, drivers may see little harm in claiming ‘phantom’ miles for journeys. This could be by adding a few extra miles to journeys to boost the value of a claim, or simply listing journeys that never actually took place.
Other scams include filling up a private car with a company fuel card intended for use only with a company car.
For an individual employee, it can seem a victimless crime, with a few extra pounds each month helping their bank balance without being a noticeable sum to their employer.
What they fail to consider is that if everybody is taking the same approach (and our research shows it is increasingly common) the amounts quickly turn into tens of thousands of pounds
In one case, a fuel card scam at a fleet, which operated just over 100 vehicles, cost the business £250,000 before it was spotted.
It certainly gives cause for concern, but it also reveals a real need for services that can help businesses identify and combat this ongoing problem.