Local Chamber of Commerce Hit by Toner Scam

A local Chamber of Commerce reported that it had fallen victim to a toner scam. They received shipment and an invoice for printer products they never intended to order.

The reason: deceptive telemarketing tactics. The chamber received a call from an out-of-state company that did not clearly identify itself before soliciting an order. Thinking that this was a courtesy call by their local supplier, an unsuspecting employee agreed to the order.

Unfortunately this scene has been repeated across the country by a number of unscrupulous telemarketing companies. In many cases the company will identify itself, deceptively, as “your toner supply company.”

The hook is often that toner prices are about to go up and that customers should order now to lock in the best price. Once authorized, the targeted company will receive a shipment of high priced printer toner.

In this case, the telemarketing company is banking on most recipients simply paying for the order, even though it did not originate from their contracted supplier, to avoid the hassle of returning the shipment. To make matters worse, once one order is paid, the telemarketer will keep calling back for more orders.

So how can you avoid this situation? Consider the following tips:

  • Never authorize a phone order unless there is no doubt that a firm is reputable.
  • Check out the company at northalabama.bbb.org.
  • Check your records to confirm claims of previous business dealings with a company or seller.
  • Establish effective internal controls for the payment of invoices.
    • Have employees fill out pre-numbered purchase orders for every order placed.
    • Channel all bills through one department.
    • Clear all invoices with the appropriate financial staff.
    • Check all invoices against purchase orders and against goods or services received.
    • Verify all invoices with the person who gave written or verbal authorization.
  • In a dispute, if the invoicing company says it has a tape recording of an order, insist on hearing it. Source: BBB North Alabama and BBB.org.

BBB New Release: Local Chamber of Commerce Hit by Toner Scam

To report a scam, call your BBB at 256-533-1640 or go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.