The warning follows a report in last week's Fleet News that revealed how Peterborough- based AMP Pearl lost £150,000 in a four-month fuel card sting when drivers' cards were taken from their vehicles as they were being valeted.
This week, Arval PHH, operator of the AllStar fuel card, is warning fleet decision-makers and company car operators that petrol stations in London and the south east of England are victims of more than half of all UK fuel-related card fraud. However, all urban areas are potentially at risk.
New statistics reveal that in petrol stations last year plastic card fraud losses came to just under £20 million, with £10.5 million of that fraud happening in the south.
In the West Midlands, losses were approximately £2 million, the north west £1.5 million, Yorkshire and Humberside £1.4 million and Scotland £800,000.
In the meantime, Arval PHH's fraud prevention experts have highlighted three key reasons why urban fuel retailers can potentially present a problem to drivers who pay with credit, debit or specialist fuel cards.
Fuel sites in towns and cities generally have a higher turnover of staff. This leads to more inexperienced employees behind the counters, who may not be as quick to spot a suspicious fuel purchase, they say.
Towns and cities have more retailers and present a bigger opportunity to use stolen and 'skimmed' (counterfeit) cards.
In a major town centre, a fraudster is merely one face among many and can thus often get away with using a stolen or fake card. In rural areas the retailer is more likely to recognise a repeat offender.
Danny Clenaghan, managing director of fuel and business mobility at Arval PHH, said: 'Motorists must take care, especially those who buy fuel in urban areas. There are simple steps such as not leaving the card in the vehicle, ensuring your card doesn't leave your sight at the counter, tearing up receipts before throwing them away and checking that your card has been signed.
'By being careful motorists can save themselves a lot of hassle and company car drivers can save their employers a lot of money.'