Beware the Toner Phoner

This is a topic near and dear to my heart.

I. Hate. These. Crooks.

I hope that through this blog, you and I can put these people out of business. Having been a professional receptionist for many years, I’ve had a lot of experience with the Toner Phoners. The script has morphed over the years, but the call will typically start something like this:

“Hi I’m calling with the service center. We’re about to send out the new manual on the copier and we just need to verify the model number.”

If you provide the model number, you’re soon to receive third-rate, recycled, probably damaged toners at an outrageous price. Use of these toners might damage your machine! You might not receive anything at all (except a bill). The best thing you can do is hang up on these people.

If you’re not sure and don’t want to hang up on what might be a legitimate call, ask them a question. “What account number are you calling on?” “What was your name?” “Which service center is this?” I promise you, they’ll hang up on you if you question them. 

Or, you can do like I do and have a little fun. “Hang on just a minute, I’ll get that.” (Try to refrain from using the word “yes” with them in your conversation. Call me paranoid if you will, but these people are crooks.)

Come back on the line a minute later. “Sorry to keep you on hold. I’ll be right back with that.”

My record for keeping them dangling is 4 minutes.

If you’re at all concerned about being able to identify a corrput call, consult the company you lease or buy your copier machines through. Also, talk to your supervisor. If you’re afraid of offending someone who might be a legitimate caller, just be polite. After all, stooping to their level only makes you look bad. You’ll be safe with a “I’ll have to consult my supervisor before I can give out that kind of information.” I guarantee they’ll hang up before you can finish.

Bottom line: Never give out that model number.


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