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Common Toner Pirate Scams and How to Protect Your Workplace

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Toner pirates could cost your business thousands of dollars.

These toner scammers first call to sell you toner and learn your copier or printer information. Then they send you a convincing, but fraudulent, invoice for overpriced toner.

They’re small enough to stay under the radar, at least for a while.

One scam in California went on for six years. A man called businesses claiming to work for a company called IT Tech Systems. He stole an average of $3,800 from each business before authorities arrested him in June of 2018. In all, he cheated 878 businesses out of $3.3 million dollars.

How can you spot scams like this and protect your business?

Three Types of Toner Scams

1. The Fraudulent Invoice

Once they’ve convinced you to order toner from them, you’ll get an invoice. Some will skip calling and send you a fraudulent invoice without warning. These invoices may come in as past due and threaten late fees or legal action.

Keep in mind that if you didn’t actually order toner, or fear your invoice is a scam, you’re not required to pay. 

Scams like this are easy to pull off because many companies ask individual departments to order their own toner. This results in many people ordering from different vendors.

2. The Info-Gathering Phone Call

This is likely the first type of call they’ll try, although you may not recognize it as toner-related.

Here they may ask you for:

  1. The make, model or serial number of your copier
  2. Who your copier vendor or toner supplier is
  3. The name of the person who orders your toner
  4. Your copier/printer account number

The caller may also disguise their intentions by asking you to answer a few survey questions. Be cautious of giving out any of this information on the phone. If you do and they call again using the information they’ve obtained, they can more easily trick you.

3. The Pressure Phone Call

The caller will ask you about a specific machine you own, citing a toner price increase or requesting a meter count. They'll say they’re from your copier company and may even claim to be from Advanced Digital or another local copier dealer.

They may use the name of some other generic national toner distributor like IT Tech Systems. Many will use information from a previous phone call to make you think they’re legitimate.

This call is all about pressuring you to order toner from them because of special pricing or a price increase. The problem is they’ll either send you poor-quality toner and charge more than is reasonable or invoice you for the toner you'll never receive.

How to Avoid Being the Victim of a Toner Scam

  • Have one person in charge of ordering supplies and only order supplies from one vendor. This makes everything easier to track, and is one component of understanding cost when purchasing a new copier or printer.
  • Educate your employees on this type of scam. Your copier company already knows what equipment you have and should never pressure you to order toner. 
  • Do your research. Research the caller’s company. Write down their name/phone number/email address.
  • If you are the person who orders toner, know your account manager’s name. Feel free to contact them if something doesn't sound right; they can work with you to determine whether or not a call originated from a legitimate source.
If you are concerned that a toner pirate may have attacked you, contact our Customer Service Team to assist in evaluating your concerns. Toner is ALWAYS included with your Advanced Digital service agreement!





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