With toner cartridges being costly, with an average price of $100, there are many scams out there that could cheat your business out of thousands of dollars. Such frauds usually start with a call that is used to learn about your copier or printer information. Then, they convince you into buying the toners that they sell. After confirming your purchase, they send you a large invoice for low quality yet overpriced toners which might seem legitimate on the surface. This might seem like a small scam, but one case in California saw a man cheat thousands of small businesses a total of $126 million by overcharging for toners. In this article, we tell you the three types of toner scams and how to avoid them.
The first call that you’ll likely receive is one where they’ll try to gather information about your printer. You may not even realize that it’s a toner selling-related call. They will try to disguise their intentions by pretending to be a survey and getting you to answer some questions about your printer. The information they ask you may include the make, model, or serial number of your printer, your toner supplier, the person in charge of ordering toners, and your printer account number. Once they have obtained all these information, they will be able to trick you into purchasing their toners. Never give your information out to unknown callers. Your toner vendor would already know all the information about your printer.
The next step in their scam is to make you purchase toners from them. They will call in again and claim that they are the toner supplier or copier company that you usually purchase from. Then they will provide the information that you have previously given them as a way to make their claim legitimate. Once you believe them, they will tell you that the price of toners has increased and request a meter count. The purpose of this call is to pressure you into ordering the toners in case the prices increase further. They will explicitly state that this is a one-time offer that you shouldn’t be missing out on. If you are lucky, some scam callers are easier to spot as they have not gathered information from you and so will use the name of a generic national toner distributor such as IT Tech Systems. No legitimate toner seller will pressure you into making a purchase.
Once they’ve received your order, you’ll get a fraudulent invoice. The toner you’ll get is often low in quality or fake and sometimes, they might not even send you any toner at all. Make sure your company is familiar with your toner vendor and centralizes the toner orders to better avoid such scams. Some scammers skip the previous steps and send “overdue” invoices and threaten legal action. You are not required to pay as long as you know you didn’t make the order.