Business Travel Fraud Schemes Technology Is Squashing 

by Donna Wilczek

With business travel spend reaching more than $318 billion in 2016, fraud potential is at an all time high. However, new advances in travel expense management technology combined with proper internal controls can help businesses reduce fraud and control their travel costs.

Here are three fraud schemes businesses can now curtail with smart applications of technology:

Mileage padding: Padding mileage reimbursements used to be a common way to generate cash. With paper log books, it’s hard to validate that the mileage claimed was actually put on the car, and most businesses don’t spend the time and effort. That leaves it wide open for fraudsters to pad by a little — or a lot. Technology reduces the fraud potential; however, businesses must back up the technology with a policy of accepting only mileage submissions that come in through GPS tracking.

Fake expenses: Another way for businesses to ease the burden of expense reporting for employees has been to ask for receipts only over a certain dollar amount, leaving plenty of opportunity to submit false expenses for amounts under the threshold. Expense report technology has made receipt management so easy that it’s feasible and reasonable for businesses to ask employees to take ten seconds to tell them what they spent company money on.

Last-minute flight booking schemes: Late airline bookings have always presented a fraud opportunity. Savvy travelers know there are different grades of fares depending on when purchase is made. The closer to travel time they purchase the ticket, the more it costs. Those more expensive tickets are easier to upgrade. Technology has made approval workflows so much smoother that it’s now practical to require pre-trip approval.

Fraudsters are endlessly creative, but opportunities in travel and expense reimbursement are becoming fewer and farther between. Anyone looking for perks from expense report fraud will have to look elsewhere if their company uses smart expense report technology.

Donna Wilczek is the vice president of Product Management at Coupa, which provides business solutions software and services.

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