Government Fleet Programs Highlight Fraud Challenges

by Rick Hall 0

With over half a million fleet cardsin circulation for the various Federal government-based, which includesWashington DC municipal employee, fleet card programs, the potential for fraudulentactivity remains high. Despite theongoing efforts of fleet card issuers to introduce enhanced fraud controls, itis often a look in the rearview mirror that is required to quantify themagnitude of the issue; in this case over $2.4 million dollars over the pastfour years.

In an investigative report from the NBC affiliate inWashington DC, repeated abuse by employees in the GSA SmartPay program profitedfrom the illegal use of government fleet cards to purchase gasoline either forpersonal use or for profit through resale remains an oversight challenge. According to the report, “low-rankingworkers swiped their fleet cards, filled the tank of their personal cars orcars belonging to friends and associates, and falsified some of the paperworkor odometer readings required to mask the crime.” Inspectors from the GSA noted that this is anationwide issue, highlighting the inherent need for automobiles to conductroutine business.

Fraud is part of the day to day life in running a largeand diverse commercial card program. This isn’t just a government program issue, it is a systemic challenge. Issuers of fleet cardprograms have done a very good job of leveraging fraud prevention tools andtechnology to try to stay ahead of the problem. At the same time, the federal government is attempting to address theseissues through items like beginning the rollout of Chip & PIN and morerecently the Transactional Data Reporting Rule. Combating fraud is a collective effort and we continue to see bettertools in the market for all commercial card program types, it is just thatfleet programs come with their own unique set of complications.

Overview by Rick Hall, Director, Commercial & Enterprise Payments for Mercator Advisory Group

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