Have you received a call from a supplier notifying you of a special discount on office supplies and wanting to take your immediate order?
We recently experienced a version of this scam in our office when a fraudster pretending to be a Xerox representative tried to sell us discounted toner for one of our printers. The only problem is that we have a contact with Xerox that covers the toner, so there would be no additional costs.
The ink supply fraudster became angry and hung up.
However, he was nothing if not aggressive in his work. He repeatedly called back and became more aggressive and mean with each call.
Mean as a marketing tactic is not very likely to be successful, especially in a business setting.
In our situation, it was very easy to tell that the caller was attempting to defraud us. Here are some tips to help you identify potential fraudsters that may call:
- Have one person in charge of ordering supplies. Not only will they know what the office needs, but they will be more aware of what suppliers you actually use and what supply contracts you have.
- Don’t place orders if demanded. Your regular suppliers are not likely to call you to make a specific purchase. They typically send emails, mailings, and other normal measures of marketing efforts when specials are available.
- Match invoices to orders placed. Some fraudsters will get appropriate contact information and send an invoice for goods not shipped. Making sure that invoices you receive are for goods you actually ordered (and at the price you agreed to) is a good business practice.
- Beware of free. Like with any telemarketer offering you something for free, there is usually a catch. For an office, this often means they send you additional merchandise and bill you for it.
Xerox has created a helpful “Toner Phoner Facts” to provide useful contact information regarding fraud attempts. You can access the PDF document here.
These tips from Xerox apply to other office supply telemarketing scams.
With a little vigilance, you can keep your office supply chain safe from fraudsters.
Samantha Cruff is the Marketing Communications Coordinator at Lawyers Mutual. Contact Samantha for information regarding our available risk management publications at 800.662.8843 or firstname.lastname@example.org.