Toner pirates are scam artists who most often target small to medium-sized businesses with the offer of replacement toner for their office printers.
While various tricks of the trade may be used to bypass the front lines and infiltrate the organization, the end game is the same: to sell overpriced, low quality, unsolicited toner that may never even appear.
Here’s how you can avoid falling victim to this popular scam and protect your business from toner pirates.
How to Avoid Being Scammed by a Toner Pirate
Education and awareness are vital weapons in the war against these phone scams, and it’s important to train all administrative personnel to become vigilant. Here are some tips to protect your business:
- Employees should watch for words or phrases such as “limited time offer”, “free”, “urgent”, or “act now”.
- Train employees to not purchase supplies from unidentified callers.
- Insist that the caller provides you with details about your account that only your vendor would know, such as your account number.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Do not provide any details of your print network over the phone. Toner pirates will try to trick employees into revealing the make, model, and/or serial numbers of print equipment to use in future interactions to make them appear legitimate.
- Designate only one employee to be responsible for all print-related purchases and ensure all calls are directed to them.
- Only do business with authorized dealers.
- Partner with a Managed Print Services provider who will handle all aspects of your print environment, including toner replenishment.
What to Do If You Have Fallen Victim to a Toner Pirate
If your organization has become the target of a toner phone scam, rest assured you’re not alone. In 2017, 21 people were arrested in the US for selling unsolicited toner to unsuspecting businesses and charities, totalling over $125 million, and in 2018, over 65,000 counterfeit toner cartridges were seized in Nigeria. Here’s what you can do to mitigate your damages:
- If you receive a bill for supplies you didn’t order, do not pay, and alert your billing department and the Better Business Bureau.
- If possible, refuse the shipment of materials.
- Don’t use any unsolicited toner as it will likely be of poor quality and may cause damage to your printer.
Contact us today to learn how to protect your business against toner scams and keep your print environment secure.