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Trucking fleet

Preventing credit card fraud on the road

July 8, 2024

During COVID, credit card fraud skyrocketed in part due to an increase in online shopping and a resultant increase in lurking fraudsters. Jack Caporal of the Motley Fool recently reported that credit card fraud remained above pre-pandemic levels throughout the first three quarters of 2023, which is concerning for anyone who uses credit cards personally or for their business. 

While technology has driven innovation, it has also driven an increase in fraud, and the trucking industry is vulnerable to credit card fraud. Nationally, fleet managers rely on technology to help prevent fraud in an industry that has drivers out on the road across America day in and day out. The best fuel card companies are vigilant addressing credit card fraud as part of their over-the-road (OTR) fuel management and fleet payment solutions systems. This article provides some tricks for how to stay on top of and best avoid fraud in the trucking industry.

What can a truck driver do to prevent everyday credit card fraud?

Although identity theft can be more complicated, credit card fraud is a daily occurrence in part because 51% of all retail transactions are done using credit or debit cards where only 26% are transacted in cash. According to’s 2023 annual credit card fraud report, 65% of credit and credit card holders have been fraud victims at some point in their lives. This computes to about 151 million Americans and is an increase from 58% reported in 2022.

Fraud might be the result of physical theft or information theft from billing and bank statements. It can come from a dishonest customer service representative stealing card information by taking a photo or writing it down. Oftentimes this information is sold and seemingly impossible to track especially for a driver in the trucking and logistics industry where travel is the job. There are also tools that thieves can employ to capture credit information, one of which is a skimmer. 

photo showing card skimmer and camera for purposes of fraud at a fuel pump

Skimmers can easily capture credit, debit, and fuel card information all in the swipe of the card, and are particularly common at fueling stations nationally. Fraudsters can easily install a skimmer device to a check-out terminal by adhering a magnetic strip reader to an existing payment terminal. Some criminals will place a fake keypad over the existing keypad in order to capture the PIN directly. Others will place a camera near the fake device in order to record the PIN as it is entered. For fleet drivers, fueling a vehicle is a regular part of their job and not something they want to involve any stressors. Fortunately, we provide some easy steps below that your drivers can take to provide some safety each time they fuel up.

1. Check for obvious signs of tampering:

Look at the card reader and the keypad for anything that does not look right. Compare the payment device to the one next to you at the pump.

2. Test the payment device:

If the device looks suspicious, try to remove it physically. If it’s loose, there is a good chance it has been tampered with.

3. Be vigilant when using your fleet card to pay for fuel:

Skimmers are most often installed in areas that are not monitored or are busy traffic areas. That is why fueling stations and fleets are most at risk. Fuel pumps provide a more secure and easier location to install malicious hardware. Be aware and cautious every time you use a fuel pump. Hide your PIN whenever it is required. Use an EMV chip that has authorization on the card without transmitting personal data.

4. Always use a fleet card when purchasing fuel:

Use trackable fuel cards whenever possible in order to control card activity and protect against fraud.

5. Active two-factor authentication on your card:

  1. Two-factor authentication will go a long way in protecting your account from fraudulent activity and is highly recommended in fuel card use.

Dynamic Prompt uses two-factor authentication technology to increase fuel card security and savings

Fuel fraud can present itself in a variety of forms that can be hard to catch, ultimately creating unwanted additional costs for your business. WEX has designed a feature – Dynamic Prompt – that provides an extra layer of security through two-factor authentication on fuel cards in order to help reduce fraudulent transactions. Using this new feature helps keep accounts safe and helps mitigate disruption to cards or drivers when cards are shut off as a result of fraudulent activity.

Dynamic Prompt minimizes the threat of fraudulent activity with two-factor authentication, creating an additional barrier to prevent skimmers from getting access to your account information. This security feature helps you avoid disruption to your business and keeps your drivers on the road and on to their next load.

Log into e-manager to learn more about Dynamic Prompt two-factor authentication from WEX.

6. Activate additional security features with SecureFuel

SecureFuel technology can be added to many WEX-issued trucking (over-the-road) fleet cards. This technology provides greater fuel card control, provides fleet managers sophisticated data reporting and telematics features, catches fraudulent use, and helps prevent misuse.

SecureFuel technology: innovation delivered to the trucking industry

WEX’s SecureFuel technology – which doesn’t require any hardware – integrates with a truck’s built-in telematics data to monitor fueling transactions in real time. This creates more ways to keep an eye on your fleet of vehicles. When a driver attempts to purchase fuel using his/her fleet card, the SecureFuel technology checks the truck’s location and tank level before authorizing the purchase. By combining fleet truck telematics with fleet card transaction data, the WEX SecureFuel technology identifies any unauthorized purchases or misuse, and you can choose to be notified immediately of the incident, or even decline the transaction before it goes through.

WEX’s SecureFuel technology provides ECM reconciliation and protects against skimming

By combining truck telematics with fleet card transaction data to pinpoint suspicious transactions in real time – and by providing a report on the vehicle’s proximity and tank level after fuel purchases – SecureFuel can quickly find purchase irregularities and trigger a fleet manager alert. SecureFuel is one of the industry’s only solutions that uses the truck’s engine control module (ECM); no additional hardware is needed. Plus, as a broadly accepted solution, SecureFuel technology works at more than 16,000 truck stops across the United States.

If Dynamic Prompt is not used, SecureFuel also provides protection against the impacts of skimming by monitoring where the truck is in real time compared to where fuel was added. If the correct truck is not at the fueling location, SecureFuel will send an alert to the fleet manager who can then disable or shut off the card.

Fraud is an issue in the trucking industry, but if your drivers practice thoughtful fueling practices you will be better protected from fraudulent activity

While U.S. credit card fraud continues to be an issue, there is some good news. As fueling technology and fleet management solutions become more robust, the best fleet card companies are making it harder for criminals to steal vital data. Vigilance at maintaining control and transparency on all fuel transactions gives carriers control while enhancing functionality and usability. 

Your fuel card company should have tools in place to allow you to better maintain and control time-sensitive employee or contractor payment needs anytime from your mobile device. These devices and other fleet payment solutions give fleet management secure access to perform critical functions in real-time. Actions like authorization for check cashing or payments, performing overrides and tracking transactions in real-time are critical for both the drivers and the fleet managers in avoiding fraudulent transactions. With these technologies in place, there is never a question of where or how the card is being used.

What can a driver do to keep fuel payment systems safe?

  • Use two-factor authentication and SecureFuel
  • Don’t give your fuel card account number to anyone on the phone.
  • Carry your fleet card and fuel card separately from your wallet. It can minimize your losses if someone steals your wallet. And carry only the card you need for that trip.
  • During a transaction, keep your eye on your fuel card. Make sure you get it back before you walk away from the fueling station.
  • Never sign a blank receipt. Draw a line through any blank spaces above the total.
  • Save your receipts to compare with your statement or provide to your fleet management representative.
  • Open your bills promptly — or check them online often — and reconcile them with the purchases you’ve made. Fleet Management can do the same, and provide support as needed.
  • Report any questionable charges to the fuel card issuer or fleet manager.
  • Notify your fuel card issuer or fleet management company if your address changes.
  • Don’t write your fleet card or fuel card account number on the outside of an envelope.

In an ongoing effort to mitigate fraud, the best fleet card companies also provide powerful card management functionality including access to real-time credit balances and limits, along with the ability to change the card status to active/inactive/on-hold immediately in case of suspicious activity. So, while credit card fraud seems to be pervasive, there are systems and electronic payment solutions in place that can help keep companies and fleet managers feeling more confident and safe.

All fleet cards are not the same, and different types of fuel cards suit the needs of different kinds and sizes of businesses. View WEX’s fleet card comparison chart to see which fleet fuel card is right for you.

Apply for a fleet card today!

Editorial note: This article was originally published on October 23, 2017, and has been updated for this publication.

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