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How to Protect Yourself Against Office Supply Scams and Toner Pirates

How to Protect Yourself Against Office Supply Scams and Toner Pirates

by Todd Stanton - April 23, 2015

Last week, I blogged about the 3 common office supply scams -- phony-invoice scams, the pretender and gift-horse approach -- that seem to be especially popular this spring.

no-scams

It's essential for everyone to be aware of these scams, as any employee could easily become a victim. Below, I've compiled a list of ways in which you can protect yourself and your employees from these scams, including:

  1. Know your rights 
  2. Educate and train all employees who answer the phone
  3. Assign designated buyers for all purchases and require that a purchase order (PO) document be issued for each purchase
  4. Report any suspicious activities to appropriate authorities immediately

I highly recommend that you read on to learn more about each of these tactics and share this with everyone in your enterprise.

RELATED: 3 Common Office Supply Scams: Toner Pirates, Pretenders & Gift Horses, Oh My!

If you are lucky enough to have avoided these scams so far, take these steps to make sure you don't fall prey to them in the future. By increasing awareness and knowing the signs, you can keep your office and staff safe and stop office scammers.

1. Know your rights

The FTC states that items received without being ordered can be considered a gift and, therefore, do not need to be paid for. Keep in mind that innocent mistakes do still happen from time to time, so do your due diligence to confirm that the items weren't intended for someone else who actually did order them. However, even if it was an innocent mistake, it should not cost you a penny. Never pay for goods or services that you did not order. Paying will not make the scammers go away, it will only show them that you are an easy target.

2. Educate and train all employees who answer the phone.

Make sure they are aware of office supply sca ms and how to identify them. You should never give our equipment information like make, model, or serial numbers over the phone to an inbound caller. (One thing to note is that if you call your service provider directly for a help desk issue, they will probably need your device serial number to help fix your problem or place a service ticket, but they will never try to sell you supplies over the phone.)

3. Assign designated buyers for all purchases and require that a purchase order (PO) document be issued for each purchase.

This way you can safeguard all purchases with a specific PO number that only your employees and the correct supplier know. Keep blank order forms secure and check all documentation before paying any bills, matching up the invoices, PO numbers, brands and quantities. Refuse merchandise that doesn't match up to one or all of these fronts.

4. Report any suspicious activities to appropriate authorities immediately.

Document and report any suspicious or fraudulent phone calls, invoices, or deliveries to both authorities and your regular vendor. Together, we can work to find and stop these con artists. 

Report office supply scams to the FTC, or your state Attorney General, local consumer protection office or Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB also suggests that you share your experiences with other businesses in your community to help them avoid similar rip-offs.

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