When it comes to our businesses, security is paramount. There’s a scam that’s becoming more prevalent called the toner scam. Recently, 67,000 fake toner cartridges were seized in Nigeria. In another incident, in 2016, Tom Miller, AG in Iowa secured a judgment against three business in Orange County, CA barring them from doing business with Iowa state offices because they were targeted with a classic toner scam.
We call these types of criminals “toner pirates”. Because toner is often an unmanaged expense that requires frequent ordering, it is a prime target for these fraudsters. Their scams can be quite sophisticated – they’ll research and obtain information under false pretenses to trick you into believing they are genuine.
Here’s How the Toner Scam Works
Toner piracy is often a telemarketing scam. They’ll pretend to be calling from your supplier to trick you into believing they’re legitimate, then start asking questions. Unsuspecting employees are often tricked into placing an order. You’ll get your toner cartridge, but it is extremely poor quality, contains less toner, and will be way overpriced. If you use it, you can damage your equipment, and void your warranty, costing you even more.
Here are some signs you may be dealing with a toner pirate:
- Immediacy: Act Now! They want you to cut a check immediately.
- They refuse to provide references or prices in writing.
- The caller pretends to have done business with your company in the past.
- They ask for model numbers, or serial numbers for copiers, printers, or fax machines.
- They won’t share an address or are located in another state.
- You’ll receive a free gift! – if you order right away.
A Few Tips…
- Don’t order toner from an unsolicited call.
- If it feels “wrong” it probably is. Just hang up!
- If the caller is not your usual salesperson, get a number. Call your provider and verify their identity.
- If the caller refuses to give you a phone number, hang up.
- Ask the caller for your account number – something only you and your actual provider will know. They’ll hang up.
Finally, if unauthorized toner cartridges arrive without an invoice, refuse them, never open the package, and contact the authorities. Being aware of the scams that are out there can help you protect your business. Contact your TSG representative to learn more.