How Uber can Help Prevent Travel Fraud

Uber, the popular travel service, is making headlines for a number of issues ranging from contract worker/employee disputes to challenges getting service to airports and cities that have not embraced the company’s business model.

But Uber should be making headlines in the world of fraud prevention as well.

Anyone who’s traveled by taxi knows how the “receipt” system works:  You ask for a receipt and are handed a stack of blank receipts to fill out how you choose. Your company policy likely requires a receipt, so you complete one of the blank receipts and turn it in, but this isn’t exactly the supporting documentation your employer had in mind.

That’s where Uber comes in. I recently used the service for the first time and was impressed with the amount of detail my receipt contained:

  • Time of pickup
  • Miles traveled
  • Route traveled
  • Driver information

I happened to be speaking at a conference on the topic of fraud prevention and quickly realized the value of this receipt. This is the documentation most company policies require. Rather than determining if the taxi fare was really $80—and if that was for the ride to the hotel or to an off-site casino—there would be few questions. I’d be able to review the fare amount, date of travel and starting and ending locations, which could be compared to expected travel plans.

In addition to providing better documentation to combat fraud, waste and abuse in travel expenses, this example also demonstrates the power of data. All of the documentation is made possible by the data captured from a variety of sources in the Uber app. Pulling the data together in a single location provides useful information in the form of an Uber receipt.

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Jeremy specializes in providing fraud investigation and forensic data mining services. He assists with fraud investigations through a variety of tasks, including interviewing employees, obtaining evidence, examining documents, analyzing large data sets, estimating losses and presenting findings. Jeremy has experience in using both ACL and IDEA data analysis software for forensic data mining and continuous auditing.

Jeremy Clopton – who has written posts on BKD Forensics.


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