Lesson 12: Misuse/Abuse and Fraud
What ethical standards apply to travel card/account holders?
Executive branch card/account holders are subject to the Standards of Official Conduct. These standards require that:
- Public service is a trust, requiring card/account holders to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws and ethical principles above private gain.
- Card/account holders shall not use public office for private gain.
- Card/account holders shall satisfy in good faith their obligations as citizens, including all just financial obligations, especially those such as federal, state and local taxes, that are imposed by law.
What are some examples of misuse/abuse?
Misuse/abuse of the GSA SmartPay® Travel card/account can take many different forms, but here are some of the most common examples:
- Personal use.
- Use of the travel card/account for someone other than the specific card/account holder.
- Use while not on official government travel.
- Purchases from an unauthorized merchant.
- Excessive ATM withdrawals.
- Failure to pay undisputed amounts on time.
What are some consequences of misuse/abuse?
Consequences for misuse/abuse may include:
- Travel card/account cancellation.
- Suspension of employment.
- Termination of employment.
- Criminal prosecution.
Please note that some agencies have agency-specific penalties and consequences for misuse/abuse of the travel card/account.
What is fraud?
Fraud is a deception deliberately practiced with the motive of securing unfair or unlawful gain. Fraud can be an attempt to cheat the federal government and corrupt its agents by using GSA SmartPay payment solutions for transactions not part of official government business. Like any deception, fraud has its fair share of victims.
Some of the different types of fraud include:
Skimming occurs when a card/account holder’s data is stolen at the fuel pump, ATM or point-of-sale (POS) terminal.
To make fake cards, criminals use the newest technology to “skim” information contained on magnetic stripes of cards.
Lost or Stolen Cards/Accounts
Often physical cards are stolen from a workplace, gym or unattended vehicle.
Card-Not-Present (CNP) Fraud
Internet fraud occurs whenever card/account information is stolen and used to make online purchases. Usually, a merchant will ask for the Card Verification Code (CVC) (located on the back of the card itself) to help prevent this type of fraud.
Occurs whenever a card/account holder receives a fake email directing him or her to enter sensitive personal information on a phony website. The false website enables the criminal to steal information from the card/account holder.
Occurs whenever new or replacement cards are mailed and then stolen while in transit.
Identity Theft Fraud
Whenever a criminal applies for a card/account using another person’s identity and information.
What should card/account holders know about fraud?
As a card/account holder, you must:
- Be alert to the indicators of fraud (including false charges/transactions, mischarging, bribes, gratuities and kickbacks).
- Report suspected fraud immediately through the proper channels at your agency (AO, A/OPC, Financial Officer, Office of the Inspector General or Office of Special Investigations).
Furthermore, card/account holders should understand that any intentional use of the GSA SmartPay Travel card/account for other than official government business is considered an attempt to commit fraud against the U.S. Government and may be cause for disciplinary actions. The IBA card/account holder is held personally liable to the government for the amount of any non-government transaction.Next