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Toner Pirates: Toner Ink Scams are Common and Costly

3 min read

Jim Reed

How Printer Cartridge Scams Target Companies Like Yours

The term “toner pirate” may make you want to suppress a giggle, but the truth is toner pirates are telemarketing scam artists who run printer ink scams, and they pose a very real threat in today’s business world. In fact, printer cartridge scams are common and expensive, costing businesses like yours an estimated $200 million per year. In fact, ordering from some suppliers could wind up costing you ten times the normal price.

So, how do toner pirates target businesses? And what flags should you look for that might signal that you are being targeted for a printer ink scam? Let’s take a closer look.

6 Signs toner pirates are scamming you

Here are some signs that a toner pirate may be trying to scam you.

1. Toner pirates may pressure you to act immediately.

Maybe they offer to sweeten the deal: throwing in some free gifts, perhaps, if you act now. Or maybe they threaten that the prices are only available for a short time. Any pressure to act quickly on a deal for toner should raise a red flag for you.

2. They’re vague about the details.

Maybe they won’t put their toner ink prices in writing, or won’t give you an actual dollar amount. Maybe they won’t give their address, or maybe they claim to be from out of state. Whatever the case, if a company is vague about the details, tread lightly, it could be a scam.

3. Printer ink scammers may pretend to have done business with you in the past or currently.
If you don’t know them, but they assure you that you have done business in the past, that’s a red flag.

4. Toner pirates may call repeatedly, to try to get information from you.
Particularly sneaky toner pirates may call you time and again, first to gather the information they need to launch the scam. Some will say they are verifying their records related to your suppliers for toner and office equipment. Or they’ll ask for your copier and printer makes and models to update their files.

5. With printer cartridge scams, the company name may sound suspect.
Does their name sound eerily like a company you have used in the past? Or does it sound a bit like a government agency? Be wary.

6. They provide a fake invoice, or send the ink first.
Some toner pirates will gather info about an employee in your office, and will call to confirm the purchase you never made. Then they’ll send the office supplies before the invoice.

Ways to protect yourself from toner pirates

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from toner pirates, printer cartridge scams and printer ink scams. 

Train all staff about the risks of toner pirates.

Any staff who answer phones should know about the risk of toner pirates and printer ink scams. Educate staff so that they never place orders for toner and other printer supplies over the phone.

Don’t be pressured into an order.

A reputable company, like EO Johnson Company, will never pressure you to buy supplies you don’t need, including toner and office supplies or equipment. And if there’s pressure to act fast, within a short time limit, that’s an additional sign that it may be a printer ink scam.

Avoid answering questions about an order or your office equipment via phone.

If the caller is asking questions about an order, or your office equipment, ask for the request in writing. You may also take down the caller’s name and number, so that the appropriate person can get back to them. If they won’t provide the information, it may be a scam.

Ask the caller for your account number.

If they don’t have your account number, signs point to scam.

Knowing what to look for can protect you from toner pirates

If somehow a toner pirate appears to send you merchandise you didn’t order (particularly without an invoice) refuse the item and return to sender. Whatever you do, don’t open it. You may in fact receive printer ink cartridges, but they will likely be overpriced, low quality, and under filled. Worse, they could damage your office equipment. Instead of using the merch you didn’t order, contact authorities, including the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Postal Service.

It’s important to note that EO Johnson will never call you to solicit orders for toner or other printing supplies. You simply place on order online or call us directly. Meanwhile when you follow these steps and heed these danger signs, you’re more likely to avoid a printer ink scam. In the end, if you and your staff are savvy and watch for the red flags, you’re more likely to sink those toner pirates, once and for all.

Is it time to order toner or other printing supplies? At EO Johnson, we are a family owned and operated company with a reputation for quality products and fair pricing, and we would be happy to help. Contact us by phone at 844-365-4968 or send us a message.




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