Finance News & Insights

Fending off fraud: The expense scam that’s most likely to hit now

Helping yourself to seconds at Thanksgiving dinner? That’s expected. Helping yourself to seconds on expense reimbursement? That’s fraud.

“Double dipping” has become one of the biggest ways employees scam their companies out of additional money on the T&E front today.

Unfortunately technology makes it easier than ever because travelers have a variety of different ways to access the same substantiation and game the system.

4 scams to watch for

Of course some incidents are innocent enough. Others are just plain dumb.

Others are more nefarious. To keep your 2019 travel budget from being blown by April, here are the most common double-dips for you and your finance team to watch out for:

  1. Mega meals. What happens when three meals a day becomes four … because an employee submitted a meal as a credit card charge but also requests reimbursement as an out-of-pocket expense? Non-eagle-eyed companies are out of luck.
  2. “Mattress runs.” You can thank technology for this one! Here an employee books two rooms – one where she can check in remotely. That room stays empty – on your company’s dime — while the employee collects more rewards points or boosts her elite travel status. And you foot the bill for both.
  3. Photobombs. If you can whiten your smile or fill in your receding hairline on your phone, you can bet you can manipulate receipts that way too. And that’s just what some less-than-honest folks do. Receipts can range from manipulated to boost totals to downright fake.
  4. The switcheroo. An employee books a flight. But the trip gets pushed back. Instead of paying the change fee the employee books a whole new ticket. You foot the bill for both, and the employee basically has a freebie ticket to use whenever he wants.

You’re most vulnerable now

And put your radar up higher than ever! Now’s the exact time of year when double-dippers really put the extra “work in.”

As everyone “cleans up” for 2018 and put in any lingering expenses before the year closes, that’s when many fraudsters kick into high gear. After all, what are the odds their manager is going to remember they already submitted that lunch for a Tuesday back in July?

They rely on the year-end flurry and memories that are blurry to score repeat reimbursements.

Considering T&E fraud hits companies of all sizes, but especially smaller shops, it’s an issue no one can afford to ignore.


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