4 Warning Signs of a Toner Scammer and Ways to Avoid Them

Submitted by Byanka Ramos on Wed, 01/31/2024 - 08:13
A phone scammer pretending to be someone else while calling

Have you received phone calls from people trying to sell you toner over the phone? If yes, be cautious, as these calls may be from toner phoners who are trying to scam you. Every day, Americans receive an average of 3.7 scam calls, so it's essential to stay alert. For businesses that receive calls more frequently, the risk of falling prey to toner scams is even higher. Unfortunately, business owners who have fallen into this trap have lost money without any means of recovering their losses.  

Toner phoners are telemarketers who try to sell copier toner over the phone by extracting sensitive information from their targets. Commonly referred to as toner pirates, these phone scammers often pretend to be from your copier's manufacturer and stop at nothing to access your company's data. Regrettably, their tactics are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it harder to identify them.    

At STPT, we are familiar with the schemes used by these toner pirates, as we've been in the printer vendor game long enough. In this article, we'll share four warning signs of a toner scammer and ways to avoid them so that you don't end up in an endless cycle of overpaying for cheap, faulty, or stolen toner. 

Watch out for these four toner phoner warning signs to avoid this scam cycle.

Signs of a Copier Toner Scam


A phone shows a scam call

1. Calls From Anyone Other than Your Sales Rep

Suppose your company has opted for automatic toner shipments included at no charge in your service contract. In that case, you should not receive calls from anyone trying to sell you toner.

However, if your company does not have automatic toner supplied to you as part of your contract, make sure you only purchase from approved vendors. If you have any questions about your supplies, always contact the vendor you purchased the product from.

If you receive a call from someone trying to sell toner cartridges, ask for the person's name, company name, address, and callback number. These callers will try to act friendly to become likable and earn your trust. Instead of getting carried away, try to get as much information as possible from them. Be wary of anyone who refuses to provide these details.

Even if they provide a callback number, check with your approved copier vendor to confirm what your contract includes.

2. Attempts to Obtain Company Information

It's crucial to be aware of toner pirates who try to steal your information by pressuring you into giving your details quickly. Legitimate copier vendors and sales representatives should have the necessary information before contacting you. These pirates can be very savvy and may have information that makes you think they are legitimate.

Even if you don't send money to these scammers, giving away any company information can still put you at risk. Callers who successfully obtain company details often use them to bill the company and ship low-quality toners that can affect the performance of your printer.

Toner phoners take advantage of the lack of communication between employees who order supplies, employees who pay the bills, and those who make purchasing decisions. Therefore, you should never give money to callers you don't know or are unsure of. Also, block any unknown numbers trying to get company information from you.

3. Misrepresentation

Scam callers often pretend to be well-known companies or businesses you already work with. They'll try to gain your trust by claiming to be from copier manufacturers like Xerox, Kyocera, Canon, and HP.

If you get a call from an unknown number and something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts, and hang up immediately. Don't give them any of your personal information. Instead, contact an authorized vendor or sales representative to confirm the call was legitimate.

These imposter scams are particularly dangerous because they rely on the trust and authority of established printer vendors. Remember, being safe is better than being sorry about your sensitive information. 

4. Free Gifts

Copier toner is essential for any laser printer and is one of the most consumed office supplies. However, it's important to note that vendors or sales representatives will not feel the need to bribe you to buy toner. Toner phoners often try to sell cheap or stolen supplies and use aggressive sales tactics such as offering incentives like free products or gifts to lure people into buying toner.

Therefore, it is best not to purchase toner over the phone from any "toner seller" who tries to bribe you with gifts or other such incentives. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it's probably a scam.

How to Avoid Toner Scammers

Scam callers often target small to medium-sized businesses and attempt to exploit any security weaknesses your company may have. Toner phoners are most successful when they interact with new hires who are not as familiar with standard office toner procedures. 

Here are some ways to avoid toner phoners:

  1. Keep all employees who make office supply purchases informed and up to date about office toner procedures.
  2. Designate specific people to order supplies and equipment and provide them with a current list of approved vendor information.
  3. Maintain organized records of all office supply purchases made by the company and how often they make them.
  4. When contacted by someone selling toner, ask for their name, company name, address, and a callback number. Share this information with your certified copier vendor, who will help you make the right call.
  5. Educate your employees about common scammer tactics to prepare them to deal with aggressive salespeople or incentives.
  6. Implement call-blocking services by contacting your phone company.

Following these guidelines can help ensure your business is safe from a printer cartridge scam.

Protect Your Business: Report Fraudulent Phone Calls

It is important to note that small and medium-sized businesses are more vulnerable to office supply scams due to their lower security investment compared to larger firms. Scammers can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Therefore, it is essential to treat toner scams as a severe threat.

If you suspect a caller is trying to scam you, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. If you've already sent money to a scammer, report the fraud immediately to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by phone or online. 

To keep your business safe from toner scams, follow protection methods such as the ones above and take steps to identify further security weak spots. By being proactive, you can avoid wasting hundreds to thousands of dollars on a toner cartridge scam.

If you want further information on how to protect your business from toner scams, don't hesitate to contact us. We can provide personalized solutions that best fit your printing needs.

drawing of printer