5 signs you may be talking to a toner scammer

Submitted by Michaela McMellan on Fri, 08/14/2020 - 08:13
Man changing toner

Have you received any calls trying to sell you toner over the phone? Be cautious with these calls, you may be talking to a toner phoner. These scams happen daily. Business owners have lost money with no recourse to recoup their losses.

Toner phoners are telemarketers who attempt to sell toner over the phone. These scammers often claim to be from your copier’s manufacturer.

Giving information to toner scammers could result in being stuck in an endless cycle of overpaying for cheap, faulty, or stolen toner.

To avoid this scam cycle, watch out for these four toner phoner warning signs.

1. Calls from anyone other than your sales rep

Companies that opted for auto toner shipments from their vendor will likely never receive a call from the manufacturer attempting to sell toner. Toner was included in the service contract of your initial purchase. Sales reps, or the manufacturer, should have no reason to call and ask you to re-purchase toner.

When receiving a call from someone attempting to sell toners, ask for the person’s name, the company name and address, and a call back number. Get as much information as you can and be wary of anyone who refuses to provide this information. Even if they provide you a call back number check with your copier vendor to understand what is included in your contract.

2. Attempt to obtain company information

Copier vendors and sales reps should have the information needed by the time the machine is installed. If additional information is needed, a sales rep the company is familiar with will likely be the one reaching out.

Those who provide information to the scammer but don’t make an official purchase may still be at risk. Callers that successfully obtain company information often proceed to bill the company and ship the items. Toner phoners pray on the lack of communication between employees who order supplies, employees paying the bills, and decision makers.

Unknown numbers trying to obtain company information over the phone should be blocked.

3. Misrepresentation

Be wary of unknown numbers that call claiming to be from a copier manufacturer, such as Xerox, Kyocera, Canon, etc. Hang up and call a familiar vendor/sales rep to confirm if this was a scam.

4. Free gift

Toner is a necessary purchase that comes with owning a copier/printer. That being said, vendors or sales reps likely won’t feel the need to bribe you to buy toner. Since toner phoners are selling cheap or stolen supplies, they often try to tempt people into buying with incentives like added free products or gifts.

Do not purchase over the phone from any “toner seller” trying to bribe you with gifts are other common aggressive sales tactics.

Preventative measures for protection against toner phoners

Toner phoners typically find the most success when they get ahold of new employees that aren’t familiar with the office toner procedure.

Protect your business from toner phoners by:

  1. Keeping employees up to date with the office toner procedure
  2. Designate specific people with the job of ordering supplies and equipment
  3. When contacted by someone selling toner, ask for their name, company name and address, and a call back number and share this information with your certified copier vendor, they will help you make the right call
  4. Don’t be pressured by aggressive salespeople or incentives

Businesses that follow these guidelines will be better protected from toner scammers.

Report fraudulent activity

If fraudulent activity is suspected, or you believe your business got scammed, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Keep your business safe with the preventative measures discussed above. Toner phoners are a real threat to copier/printer owners and should be taken seriously. The last thing you want, is to waste hundreds to thousands of dollars on a toner scam.

drawing of printer