The sharing economy that gave us quicker rides, delivered groceries and cheaper places to stay came at a price: the notoriously low salaries paid the mostly part-time workers, many of whom drive for their extra money. Perhaps it’s no surprise that some drivers are working their side jobs at the same time they’re being paid by their regular jobs. Some go as far as to pursue employee reimbursement for miles driven for the likes of Uber and Lyft. How can an organization protect itself from this brazen brand of fraud?

Employee reimbursement fraud is nothing new, of course. But even before the sharing economy took hold companies were under pressure to give workers more flexibility over when and where they worked. Part-time positions with flexible hours in the sharing economy gave the dishonest a perfect opportunity to moonlight during daylight. How common is this fraud?

Making up for sharing economy’s low pay

Consider that there are an estimated 45 million workers involved in the sharing economy. Of the drivers in the sharing economy, one study found, 63 percent of those with a separate full-time job admitted accepting a Lyft ride, Instacart delivery or other job while on the clock for their primary job. That study also found that 48 percent – nearly half – of drivers have logged miles for their shared economy job while being paid by their primary job.

It’s safe to say those drivers are financially motivated to make fraudulent claims for employee reimbursement, given the findings of that same study. It found that 95 percent of drivers want their employers to offer employee reimbursement, a likelihood that seems remote given that doing so would help turn what are now low-paid independent contractors into higher-paid employees.

“For non-sharing economy employers that reimburse their workers for business mileage and vehicle wear and tear, this is a slippery slope,” said the Runzheimer report. “These employers must give more thought to verifying the accuracy of staff mileage and expense logs – putting checks and balances in place to ensure that business miles aren’t being padded with sharing economy trips.”

Employee reimbursement as a fraud detector

When it comes to ferreting out fraud, traditional reimbursement systems fail because they depend on odometer provided by employees. Who is to say whether a mileage claim is for miles driven at work or for Uber or to the grocery store? SureMileage by Company Mileage takes odometer readings out of the reimbursement equation. Because rather than verifying miles that may have been driven, SureMileage calculates the expenses to be reimbursed based on the distances involved in specific trips.

SureMileage and the expense solution SureExpense can both be accessed in a mobile-friendly, secure format through a related mobile application, SureMobile. With SureMobile, organizations can handle all of their travel and expense needs and take the guesswork out of mileage tracking. Employees can upload receipts from mobile devices and plan, submit, and update their trips from anywhere.
With SureMileage, employers can be more confident those trips were made for them and not for Uber.