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Don’t Fall Prey to Toner Pirates & Office Supply Scams



Don’t Fall Prey to Toner Pirates & Office Supply Scams

Recently, toner pirates have been scavenging around local businesses. To prevent others from falling victim to this type of fraud, we want organizations to be educated and aware that there are scammers targeting office equipment and supplies.

What is a Toner Pirate?

The term “toner pirate” is used to describe scammers that use businesses’ copier and printer supplies as a way of extracting money. These con artists use deceptive and convincing methods that seem legitimate but could cost businesses thousands of dollars.


What to Look for if you Think it's a Toner Scam

Below are some invoices that were recently received from a toner pirate.

Toner Pirate Example Invoice - Scam Invoice for Sharp MX-3110N Toner for $478.50 and Shipping & Handling charge of $19.25, Dated 9/3/2019

Toner Pirate Example Invoice

It's easy to see how an organization could mistake something like this as a standard invoice. The invoice is addressed to an actual employee of the company and looks like a normal statement requesting payment. Without the guidance of AOS, these companies could have paid the invoices without realizing the error. Make sure if you receive any invoice that is not an approved vendor to contact your print provider before remitting payment.

When following up on an invoice, it's common for the fraudulent company to create a sense of urgency for immediate payment via phone or an alternative method. They are not forthcoming of additional information or details concerning the invoice.


Toner Pirate Tactics and Warning Signs

There are several common tactics that toner pirates implement within their operations; the following are a few warning signs that your organization may be being targeted.

  • Scam telemarketing calls with discounted toner prices, which often make you feel pressured to act fast on the deal.
  • Saying that they are partnered with your current print provider and need you to place an order with them.
  • Seemingly random shipments of toner that are followed by an invoice requesting payment from an unknown source.
  • Slight inaccuracies on the invoice, e.g. wrong billing address or an incorrect spelling of the contact name.
  • Calls from sources that claim to be your current print provider; however, the caller seems uninformed and requests basic device information or current print environment details that your true print provider would know.

        “This is Bob with your Print Provider; I just need to update some information on your current devices.
          What’s the make and model of your office’s main copy machine?”


How to Prevent a Toner Pirate Attack

A respectable print management provider would never contact you about lower toner prices. Toner should be included with your maintenance agreement.

Confirm that any office supplies received are from your current print provider. If you ever have any questions about where toner came from or any invoice details, contact your Managed Print Services provider for verification.

There will always be telemarketing scams and the best way to keep your organization safe is to educate your team. If you are concerned that you may have been attacked by a toner pirate, contact our Client Success Team at AOSClientSuccess@getaos.com or (800) 346-6920 to assist in evaluating your concerns. To make a formal complaint, visit the Federal Trade Commission.

If you would like to learn more about office copiers or other industry topics, visit our blog.


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Topics: Managed Print Services, Toner Scam, Toner Pirates, copy machine, Printer

Brad McEldowney

Written by Brad McEldowney

AOS has been providing a culture of care since 1969. I have the privilege of following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather in serving as the third generation of ownership for our company. We sell and service office equipment, software and technology that helps your business or organization run smoothly. We are nationally recognized for the level of service we provide our clients and have seen consistent growth as a result.

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