Toner Pirates: How to Stay Safe

When you need print supplies, who orders them? If your print supply ordering is not centralized, you could be at risk for a new type of scammer: the toner pirate. Here’s how to protect yourself.

What is a Toner Pirate?

A toner pirate is a type of scammer that’s becoming increasingly common. Their goal is to try and get you to purchase “low-priced” toner – however, it may never arrive, and if it does it’s typically low-quality (which can damage your machines) and you’ll receive an inflated invoice along with it. Using high-pressure tactics, they aim to take your money, and hurt your business.

These scams are often effective because many companies buy their print supplies ad-hoc. There is no one purchasing person or source, making it easy for an invoice to get paid without recognizing that it’s not legitimate.

Centralized Supply Management

One of the best ways to protect your business against toner pirates is to centralize your print supply management, such as by contracting with a Managed Print Services provider. With automated supply refills, no one in your company has to worry about ordering supplies, and the invoice will always come from a known source, so any other invoice can be immediately flagged as a potential scam. Designating one person in the office to handle all print supply orders can also help.

Other Precautions

There are other important steps to help protect your business against toner pirates and other supply scammers. These include:

  • Training your employees on the dangers of scammers.
  • Not giving any information about your print devices to unsolicited callers.
  • Not falling for high-pressure sales tactics, which are usually not legitimate.


It’s also important to never pay invoices for supplies you did not order. If you can, refuse delivery; otherwise, do not open or use any of the supplies. Contact local authorities to report the scam and for help resolving the matter.

Toner pirates and other supply scammers are out to get your money, and they can also hurt your business and damage your equipment. Protect yourself with smart supply management and educating your team about how to spot a toner pirate.