Beware of Toner Pirates



Just like the infamous scallywags of long ago, toner pirates seek to rob you blind. Instead of sword and hook, they use a phone call and a low low price. Toner pirates call businesses and use scripts to trick office personnel into thinking the call is coming from the company’s regular office products supplier. Then they dazzle you with special sale prices and offers.

However, they aren’t offering a real bargain at all. They’re actually trying to trick companies into buying counterfeit copy and print supplies that are over-priced.

Some pirates will call a company, ask for the name of the person that orders supplies, request the business address, and then send supplies that were never ordered—with a bill attached of course. Additionally, they will delay mailing an invoice with inflated pricing, hoping the supplies will be used before anyone checks into where they came from.

The office supplies peddled by these bogus firms can cost up to ten times more than they would normally cost through a company’s usual supplier, and since these supplies may be ordered by separate departments or individuals within the same company, it’s easy for these mishaps to go undetected by the accounting department.

To avoid becoming a victim of these scams consider these suggestions:

  • Never commit to an order over the phone, no matter how tempting the price, or because of false claims that a “special offer” will expire.
  • Know your supply representative. Check with your authorized dealer before buying anything.
  • Get specifics. If they claim they’re a current supplier, get their account number or maintenance agreement number.