Prevent Field Technician Fraud: How to Catch False Overtime Claims

Good managers support, trust, and genuinely like their staff. At least 9 times out of 10, the relationship goes both ways – employees do good, honest work.

But no organization is safe from con artists. These rotten apples find inventive ways to take advantage of management’s trust. Once they’ve wormed their way into an organization, they can do a whole lot of damage.

What does that damage look like? There are plenty of examples. In 2018, a New York City MTA worker claimed to have worked 76 hours of overtime every week. That year, he was paid $451,646, more than the mayor’s and governor’s salaries combined. Also in 2018, a Los Angeles LADWP worker received $313,865 in overtime pay after claiming to have worked 70 extra hours every week. The same year, a Defense Department employee was charged with scamming the government out of $1.4 million in overtime pay.

While government employees’ cons get the most attention, private companies are also vulnerable to scams. In 2019, an airline mechanic tampered with a plane’s hardware in order to receive overtime pay.

Of course, managers have to be careful to dot all their i’s and cross all their t’s before accusing employees of overtime theft. While it’s entirely legal to dismiss employees for fraud, it’s not always legal to fire employees who made false overtime claims without knowing those claims were false.

This issue is especially fraught for the services industry. Accurately monitoring remote employees’ overtime claims is hugely challenging. Field technicians spend 90% of their working hours in traffic, visiting clients, and far from supervision. If they occasionally add some unworked overtime to their timecards, who will be able to prove it?

Even the most modest of false claims can add up. Let’s say you have a staff of twenty technicians, each one paid at a time-and-a-half rate of $25. If just half of those technicians add only one extra hour to their weekly timecard, your business will lose $13,000 a year.

What can you do to make sure your employees stay on the up-and-up? These technologies will keep your staff honest:

1: GPS Tracking

With live GPS tracking technologies, a supervisor who wants to instantly locate every single field technician only has to do one thing – open a map. Accessible via desktop and mobile platforms, these tools show you if an employee isn’t where they say they are.

But sometimes, that’s not enough. What if an employee claims they finished a job at 3 pm, but you suspect they actually left at 1? The most cutting-edge GPS technologies use Trip History Reporting. Don’t trust your employee’s word or your gut – check the record and see if they drove away from the job at 3 or if they were parked outside their home by 1.

2: Tailor-Made Mobile Apps

Not all false overtime claims are malicious. In fact, most are probably the result of misremembered hours, fatigued mistakes made at the end of long days, or confusing paperwork.

That’s why a mobile app tailor-made for your business’ specific needs can be so powerful. When your employee wants to sign onto a job, all they have to do is open an app and click a button. Signing off is just as simple. This tool will eliminate paperwork and unnecessary clerical confusion. Plus, it will make your back-office staff’s job much easier.

3: Payroll Reporting

Speaking of your back-office staff – payroll reporting technologies help them work faster and more efficiently. Integrated into all-in-one platforms, they automatically turn data collected by GPS and mobile apps into payroll reports. They eliminate lazy mistakes, calculation errors, and speed up your accounting.

Want to see how these tools can be applied to your organization’s unique needs? Check out FleetUp. We offer GPS tracking, a mobile app, payroll reporting, and many other tools that will make your business more efficient and profitable than ever.

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