How to Handle Toner Pirates & Other Scammers

ImageHave heard of the toner or ink scam where somebody sends you a cartridge for your printer, then tries to bill you an overpriced amount even though never ordered it? This scam has been around for years, but warnings bear repeating.

Here's advice from Publib posters on how to handle "Toner Pirates" and "Toner Phoners":

  • Cynthia Orr said: Libraries need to make sure that everyone on the staff who ever answers the phone knows about this because they’ll keep calling back until they get someone who will help them.
  • Kathleen Stipek said: Back when I was a new-made MLS and director of a tiny library, we got into the clutches of one of these outfits, and when I got a threatening call demanding I order some obscene amount of  their lousy paper at a ghastly price, I had an inspiration when told they were going to sue.  I said, brightly, that as they were planning to sue, I would need his name, his supervisor’s name, the full legal name of the company and its address, and its attorney’s contact information so I could brief the city attorney.  Never heard from them again.   I told my city manager about it, and he laughed so hard he almost unhinged some ribs.  Scamsters don’t really like to deal with 3-piece suits bearing briefcases no matter how often they threaten others with them.
  • Dusty Gres said: We call them “toner phoners” and I have been fielding their scams for the er, ahem, quite a few number of years I have been in this business. They usually focus on the copiers but also printers and on any kind of supplies including janitorial supplies.
  • Phalbe Henriksen said: I almost got caught in this trap when I first became a director. They told me that the former director had ordered the toner cartridges and that they were ready to ship them. I spoke to the woman who handled all the paperwork who told me that there was no purchase order for it. The scamsters called back the next day. When I asked them to read the P.O. number to me, they said there wasn't one. I told them that if there were no purchase order that the former director couldn't possibly have ordered. They huffed and they puffed, and said they were shipping the order because it had definitely been ordered. I told our friendly UPS delivery man and he said he'd watch for it and refuse it. He said he'd *love* to do that. Nothing got shipped, so he didn't get the pleasure of returning the order to the company.
  • Karen Mahnk said: ... having and sticking to a written policy of no phone orders without a PO # will take care of any slip-ups.

Source: [Publib] Is this a question you would answer? - This may be a warning [this link points to the thread of  posts]

Image credit: The scam truck photo by Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier; source Flickr found with