December is not only the festive period but also the time when con artists or greedy employees try their best to swipe away at someone else’s money.According to Standard Bank, illicit transactions barely stand a chance any more thanks to technology.DECLINING NUMBERSStandard Bank’s head of fleet management, David Molapo, told Wheels24: “Customers saved an estimated R15.3-million in potential losses through the bank’s online authorisation system, which scanned and declined questionable transactions at fuel stations across South Africa.“People tend to take advantage of increased activity on holiday routes and at crowded facilities to mask dubious forecourt transactions. December 2012 showed a significant change in this trend with losses due to irregular and unlawful use during the month among the lowest recorded on our system.”ONLINE ACCESSThe bank’s real-time authorisation system is the key technology that enables each card transaction to be validated and authorised at point-of-sale. Fleet operators also have access to all online transactions within 15 minutes.“Where transactions appear to be out of the ordinary fleet operators are phoned and alerted," Molapo explained. "They can then check the circumstances surrounding the transaction and approve or decline it."According to the bank, transactions to the value of R257.6-million were blocked during the 2012 holidays, often with fleet owners unaware of any illegal attempts. Approval was only given for legitimate transactions worth R36-million. Declined transactions were mainly due to the improper use of fleet cards, with cloned or stolen cards amounting to only 1.31% of the blocked transactions.“Aberrations detected and declined included same-day fill-ups within a very short time, exceeding the tank capacity of vehicles and illicit use of lost or discontinued cards,” said Molapo. “Of the total R15.3-million declined transactions, only 2.76% were actually fraudulent. This was mainly due to cloned cards."INCREASED AWARENESSMolapo added that cloned-card fraud for any sort of transaction was being progressively shut down. “The benefits of increased technical vigilance have made fleet operators more aware of the challenges they face. Control measures are being introduced within companies, contributing to increased security. “Drivers are more conscious of the manner in which they use the cards, reducing improper use and fraud levels even further."