Office supply officers for companies need to be aware that old scams are resurfacing to take advantage of many company and corporate austerity measures. These office supply scams basically involve your company being tricked into paying for goods that you did not order, and the supplies commonly include paper, maintenance supplies, advertising, or laser toners. The scammers make the approach typically with a phone call, claiming to e your regular supplier and offering a ‘special’ or ‘one time only’ sale on supplies that you typically buy. Of course these are not your regular suppliers and the sales that they advertise typically involve overpriced items of poor quality. The scammers will attempt to collect a few details from you, such as what brand printer you use, who is your office manager, whose name goes on the invoice and so on. This fact finding endeavors to collect all the information they need to send you product that looks like it belongs with an invoice that might pass a casual once over as it would contain all the correct information. If the invoice is paid the products start coming regularly and begin to leach funds from your company.
Other tactics that you may encounter may include: cold invoices for services that were not ordered, addressed to an employee. Calls from someone lying and claiming to be a regular supplier and who states that you have ordered these supplies before. Cold calls to employees offering a free gift that, when it arrives, comes with goods that were NOT requested and an invoice. A shipment of goods followed shortly after with an invoice claiming that you have not completed payment. Since the recession many of these scams are focusing on how much money the products can save or new toner or ink formulas that last longer. Companies looking to save on office supply costs are more likely to be drawn in by these promises. Fortunately, defense is fairly easy.
The Federal Government officially states that any products sent to a company that were not ordered may be treated as a gift, no payment should be sent. However this may still be risky as the products that arrive may be low quality, low enough to damage printer heads or cause paper jams. Train your employees to use common sense and recognize scams. No employee should ever give out or clarify information about your company unless they know what that information will be used for. Have a policy against business proposal agreements made over the phone—always receive propositions or offers in writing. Limit the number of people who are authorized to make orders or pay invoices and train them to recognize common office supply scams and to know your regular suppliers well as well as what your typical products look like and when they are supposed to arrive.
These scams can be costly and exhausting if companies are brought in. After false sales have been made for a while many scammers will become aggressive if payments stop, calling in and objecting, harassing individuals over the phone in an attempt to collect. Report these numbers to the government or check online to see if they have a history recorded.
When ordering toner make sure that you know the company ahead of time and that they have a reputation that is positive and goes back several years. Ordering OEM toner is your best bet as this toner, created by the same company as makes your printer, is specially formulated to work better and longer and to add years of functionality to your printer. This is especially important with large laserjet printers that create large volumes of text very quickly. Poor quality toner will melt unevenly in the heating element which may cause bubbling or may stain or drip on the inside of your printer, possibly destroying several thousand dollars of equipment. Other devices, such as smaller Dell or HP inkjet printers may also be damaged or print with poor quality when non OEM ink cartridges are used. Reputable online sellers, however, should provide high quality cartridges that will not damage your printers, at prices much more competitive than the printer manufacturer’s homepage.
Also make sure that you keep an eye on the rate that your cartridges are used and the rate that they are replaced. Busy companies, schools, or hospitals often lose track of their printing supply and as a result some employees have taken to skimming cartridges off the top and selling them online, making hundreds of dollars a month in some instances.