What are toner pirates?

What are toner pirates?

While the name sounds silly, toner pirates are a serious problem. Toner pirates are scam artists who cheat companies by posing as toner vendors. They use high-pressure sales tactics to convince unsuspecting companies to pay them for supplies they don’t need or didn’t order.

This also often involves pretending to be an authorized service dealer or simply dropping off toner and then demanding payment. Organizations that pay toner pirates usually either do not receive any toner or pay exorbitant prices for supplies they don’t need.

How to identify toner pirates

While toner schemes are constantly evolving, there are some common tells you can look for.

  1. The caller uses high-pressure sales tactics to force you into an immediate decision.
  2. The person on the phone says that this is a special offer that expires today.
  3. They insist on in-person or cash payments.
  4. When you ask what organization the caller is with, they provide a company name similar to your service provider or that of a government agency.
  5. They pretend that you’ve done business in the past, even if you don’t know them.
  6. The person on the phone refuses to give you any business references.
  7. The seller isn’t able to provide an exact address or office location.

How to avoid becoming a victim

Now that you know how to identify them, how can you avoid becoming their victim? Here are a few tips that will help.

  • Designate one person to be in charge of all supply orders and standardize your ordering process.
  • Train your staff on how to respond to telemarketers and where to direct all purchasing decisions.
  • Know who your point of contact is at your service company. If this isn’t the person calling, it’s probably a scam. To be sure, call your vendor contact and ask.
  • Have a conversation with your dealer about the details of your agreement. Toner is often included in your maintenance agreement and thus there is no need to buy from an outside source.
  • Clarify how your current supply vendor will contact you. Metro Sales, for example, will never call and “sell” you toner. Instead, we’ll call asking if you need any more toner delivered.
  • Ask for specifics like company name, address, phone number, account number or maintenance agreement number.
  • Never give out equipment models and numbers over the phone. This will reduce future risk.
  • If you receive supplies or bills for things you didn’t order, don’t pay.

Do you have additional questions or are you worried that you’ve already fallen prey to a toner scheme? Call our customer service hotline at 612-861-4000.

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