Fleet and fuel management company Arval PHH, which operates the AllStar fuel card, is urging fleet drivers to treat their cards with greater care to avoid offering easy pickings to criminals.
In some cases, drivers have left their cards in vehicles when they have been handed back to the supplier at the end of a supply contract, providers claim.
Card theft can be a major problem for petrol stations as some do not yet have the sophisticated anti-fraud technology that high street retailers use. Until they can upgrade their systems, fleet decision-makers need to make sure drivers are not easy targets.
Danny Clenaghan, managing director of fuel and business solutions at Arval PHH, said: 'There is an onus on drivers to look after these cards but it is also up to fleet operators to ensure their drivers are careful, as employers are the ones who will pay financially.
'Company car drivers are a big area of risk because they make so many fuel transactions. We have also had occasions when cards have been left in cars that have been sold on.'
Arval PHH is working with retailers to introduce an online authorisation system, where payment cards are instantly checked against a host computer when they are swiped to pay for fuel. If a card is stolen or lost, the system can block its use immediately at all participating fuel stations.
If the card has been 'hotlisted' in this way, all transactions will be blocked and the sale of fuel cannot take place, potentially saving fleets from losing hundreds of pounds through fraud.
Figures from the British Oil Security Syndicate (BOSS) show that last year service stations in Britain lost more than £40 million through plastic card fraud.
Arval recommends that company car drivers follow a series of simple guidelines when buying fuel: