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Beware of Toner Pirates

Today, to protect your business, you always have to be vigilant. There are plenty of criminals out there ready to take advantage of your business. The latest scam involves “toner pirates”. Toner scams are real, and easy to fall for. In 2017, 21 people were arrested in a 126 million dollar telemarketing scam that involved selling overpriced, counterfeit toner to small businesses and charities.

How it Works…

For many businesses, ordering print supplies flies under the budget radar. Because consumables require frequent replacement, toner is the perfect target for scammers. Toner pirates often start their campaigns with a simple phone call. The caller may ask you to take a survey or might pretend to be a service tech asking questions about your print fleet. Later, they’ll use the information you’ve provided to send a legitimate-looking invoice to your payables department that will often get processed. Sometimes, you’ll just receive a box of toner and an invoice which looks legitimate, but isn’t.

Watch for cues: for example if someone offers to sell you supplies at a price that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Often you’ll be offered a super low price for a single cartridge, but a large box will be sent to pad the bill. The supplies you do receive are often counterfeit, cheaply made cartridges that leak. Or they just don’t work at all.

Don’t Become the Next Victim

Protect yourself by educating your team, and implementing best practices like:

  • Provide a list of authorized vendors and train your team not to speak to any that aren’t on the list.
  • Designate a print purchasing manager. Refer all sales calls to them.
  • Never provide details about equipment over the phone.
  • Order only from authorized dealers.
  • Never sign for, accept or open a package if you can’t confirm the source.
  • When an offer feels too good to be true, it probably is!

If you receive a call that just “feels” wrong, or the caller is pressuring you to “act now,” hang up and call your authorized supplier to confirm if it’s them. Remember, you are not legally obligated to pay for any supplies that you did not expressly order. If you receive unordered supplies or think you’re being scammed, call the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint immediately.

For more tips on how to keep your print environment secure, call us at PrimeEdge Technology to learn more.

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