The last thing businesses want to deal with is funneling a ton of money into their print environment just to run into toner scams.
Toner scams are on the rise, with telemarketers selling overpriced toner to vulnerable staff members. These scammers often target staff members through emails or phone calls with offers on toners for your office equipment. They employ strategies to con staff members into buying from them, including offering discounts, and using aggressive sales methods.
What ends up happening is that businesses end up paying for the toner and never receive it. This leaves staff members and business owners in a vulnerable and unideal situation. Toner scams can cost your business thousands of dollars, and if not dealt with swiftly, scammers often stay under the radar to continue scamming other unsuspecting businesses.
How can you identify toner scams?
Identifying toner scams can be tricky because these scammers are often clever and sophisticated when approaching you with an offer. Do not be surprised if your staff members are being bombarded with calls and voicemails. There are some red flags to watch out for that you can pass along with your business to help prevent printer toner scams and be better prepared.
Generic company domain
Whether receiving an email or a call, conduct additional research to ensure that the representative you speak to belongs to a legitimate business. Scammers often provide a generic name for their business to attract potential customers.
This can be tricky to decide what is legit, but your best bet is to research the company online. Does the business have a website and customer reviews? Furthermore, you can search the email or phone number you received from the representative to see if that matches the company they are improvising as.
There are times when scammers do not even imitate other legitimate companies but instead provide false information. If you are searching for the company’s information and nothing’s popping up, or worse, people are making reports of phishing scams related to the contact info, it is best to block and report the caller to your IT team.
If you are not familiar with industry standards regarding the price of toner orders, you may not know if you are getting a good deal. If the vendor you are speaking to is vague about pricing or invoicing, it should be an immediate red flag.
As a customer, you are entitled to quotes on the equipment you are ordering, so do not fall into the trap of providing them with your information without hearing a price. Furthermore, if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. If the caller or person emailing you offers many discounts, bonuses, or coupons that are not industry standard, you are dealing with a scammer.
Urgent calls or emails
This is never a good sign. Threats are unfortunately a common practice scammers enact to bully staff into purchasing from them. The threats often accompany urgent details such as an order being a one-time offer.
You should never feel pressured to buy toner or any product from any company. Often these scammers are overly aggressive about selling you toner products, and staff may feel high pressure to comply. Staff members must be aware that they are not legally obligated to pay or be put under any pressure when purchasing toner equipment.
How can I prepare my team against toner scams?
The nature of a printer and copier toner scam is vague and can be confusing for those without industry knowledge. Ongoing training, including phishing attack training, can protect your business and team from these scams.
Furthermore, you can employ some of these steps to avoid scammers:
- Naming one person in charge of supply management and building a relationship with one trusted vendor.
- Research the caller’s company and become familiar with the account manager of the business in case you need to verify a representative or order.
- Report a toner scam to the Business Technology Association or Attorney General’s office to deal with scammers.
- When ordering supplies, never provide details about your office supply over the phone, as scammers will use this information against you and the company to make future sales seem authentic.
- Do not provide the serial number to anyone over the phone.
- Most importantly, only work with authorized dealers! This is one of the most important efforts you can make to protect your print environment.
Beyond training employees, it is also essential to adopt procedures and standards in the office. Therefore, all employees of various levels are on the same page when responding to these situations. Appointing one person, like a manager, to handle disputes and potential scammers can help ensure a smoother workflow.