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Amid rise in fuel theft, two companies collaborate to safeguard fleets

Ditat and WEX collaborate to tackle fuel card theft with new Secure Code feature

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Imagine one day, while you are checking a driver’s fuel card statements from the previous month, you notice some suspicious transactions. Someone made purchases in Texas, but you know your driver — who is the only other person besides you with authorized card access — was in Missouri that day.

Somehow, an unknown person got ahold of one of your fuel cards and the personal identification number (PIN) attached to it. The fraudster’s spending spree has racked up thousands of dollars and left you to foot the bill.

Your business has become a victim of fraud; therefore, preventing your driver from purchasing fuel using that account until it is resolved.

A fuel card, also referred to as a fleet card, is a convenient and essential tool that allows a driver to purchase fuel and in some cases pay for truck maintenance or travel expenses while on the road.

For fleet owners, fuel cards offer numerous advantages over credit cards, including fuel discounts, tighter and customized controls, and real-time reports.

Unfortunately, the same tactics thieves use to steal credit cards are often how they can gain access to your fuel card data.

Credit card fraud is on the rise. According to Federal Trade Commission data, it is the most common type of identity theft in the U.S., with 338,684 reports over the first three quarters of 2022, up more than 17% compared to the same time frame in 2021.

Thieves are constantly evolving their methods to catch would-be victims off guard, and today one of their most common tactics fleets need to be aware of is card skimming. 

Card skimming is no small-scale operation. The FBI estimates it costs financial institutions and consumers more than $1 billion each year.

In this scam, thieves install devices on payment terminals in stores, ATMs and — most alarmingly for truck drivers — fuel pumps. These devices can be hard to detect as they are designed to blend in, often being installed over the machine’s keypad or magnetic strip. 

When the unsuspecting victim uses a debit, credit or fuel card to pay, thieves are able to remotely collect the data, including the PIN. The cardholder won’t know anything is awry until suspicious purchases show up on a statement.

Truck drivers are naturally exposed to potential card skimmers more than the average driver due to frequenting more fuel stations more often, so awareness is key to avoiding this scam. 

WEX advises cardholders to look out for these red flags:

  • The card reader is protruding well beyond the face of the machine.
  • The card reader is loose.
  • There is a voided security seal on the machine.
  • The keypad appears bulkier than normal.

While it is important for drivers to be vigilant against card-skimming scams and other tactics, preventing fraud starts behind the scenes with a secure infrastructure.

This is why Ditat, a powerhouse TMS bringing solutions to the transportation industry since 2010, and WEX, which provides payment control and security for over 15 million commercial vehicles around the world, have teamed up.

Ditat integrates with WEX (the parent company of EFS) via a real-time interface so fleet managers can access and manage their WEX EFS Fuel Card data in their TMS.

“WEX and Ditat’s joint passion to serve the fleet industry naturally translated into a strategic relationship,” said Noel Glasgow, vice president of sales, WEX OTR. “We’re both dedicated to driving continuous innovation that matches the evolving needs of the industry, and our synergy can deliver better solutions for our clients. Our relationship essentially strengthens the security of our clients’ card portfolios.”

This relationship allows fleet managers to set purchasing controls, such as automatically shutting down a fuel card when a driver’s load is complete, creating checks, and viewing usage data and balances, all within their TMS.

Most recently, this strategic relationship has produced an extra layer of security for fleet owners with Ditat’s Secure Code. This feature, managed through Ditat’s TMS, requires a unique four-digit code to be entered for each purchase. After a transaction is detected on a WEX EFS card, a new set of numbers is automatically generated and the card is updated, preventing unauthorized access.

WEX has built-in layers of protection, including using GPS technology and proximity validation, ensuring that the location of the fuel and purchase align. It even compares volumes of fuel purchased with an available tank capacity to further prevent misuse and fraud.

“If either of those scenarios are outside the validation check parameters, carriers can opt to interrupt the transaction, or receive alerts about the suspicious activity,” Glasgow said.

Fleet managers can arm themselves against fraud by choosing a fuel card provider like WEX that offers layers of protection and a TMS like Ditat that integrates those features into their all-in-one command center platform.

To learn more about Ditat, click here.

Jenny Glasscock

Prior to joining FreightWaves, Jenny worked as a staff writer at a weekly newspaper and later as a safety assistant at a trucking company. She now enjoys a combination of both her interests as a FreightWaves sponsored content writer. She received her B.A. in English Publishing Studies from Illinois State University in 2018 and currently lives in Marengo, Illinois.