Toner Scams

Unfortunately, they’re out there. Call them what you like – Toner Phoners, Toner Pirates, Toner Bandits, Toner Poachers – they want to steal money from you by conning you into ordering unnecessary toner or sticking you with invoices for toner at grossly inflated prices. It’s fraudulent telemarketing, it’s illegal, and it’s estimated that these scammers can cost businesses, schools, government agencies and non-profit institutions $50-$200 million a year.

And, yes, it does happen in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Martin Group has even received phishing phone calls from someone pretending to be our toner supplier!

Here's how you can protect your company against these toner poachers and scammers:

How does the scam work?

The scammer calls and claims to be your copier company (they may even have the name of your company and say they are with Martin Group!).  They'll ask to "confirm" your machine's ID information, including the tag number and serial number.   They will then send you expensive shipments of toner and a pricy invoice. 

ALERT - OCTOBER 2011:  We've had a report of a new tactic.  The caller claims to be from Martin Group and says that our maintenance programs have changed and no longer include toner.  They insist that you should have gotten a notice in the mail.  This is NOT true.  We will always honor the terms of your maintenance agreement as they are listed on your sales agreement for the entire length of your contract; we would never make such a major change like that mid-contract. 

How can I stop them?


Unless you can verify that the caller is really, truly an employee of your copier company, never give this information to a caller. We would never call you for information about your machines because we assigned your identification numbers to you in the first place.

Be sure to train every employee who answers your phone to not give out any identifying information about your equipment.

If you do fall victim to the scammer phone call, do NOT accept the unsolicited toner shipment! — Or else, you could be stuck paying that outrageous invoice! If you would like a template letter for revoking goods you have received from fraudulent telemarketing, the Business Technology Association has one posted on their website. 

How do I tell the difference between a scam shipment and Martin Group's automated FleetView toner shipments?

If you are receiving automatic toner shipments through our FleetView service, you can contact our Service Department to verify the shipment before accepting it.  Or, you can check your machine to confirm the toner actually  is low. 

How can I tell if it's really a Martin Group staff member calling?

We’re not going to call you out of the blue and ask you to “confirm” your tag number. Ever.

If you have acquired equipment through Martin Group and elected to get a maintenance contract with included copies OR signed up for a OneSource Platinum or Gold program, remember that your toner is included in your contract. There is no need to “stock up before prices go up,” which is one common ploy the scammers use to get you to agree to an order.

If you have signed up for the OneSource Silver printer care program, you may occasionally receive follow-up calls from your account representative. They also will not ask for your tag number because we assigned the tag number and sent it to you after you enrolled. Remember that your representative provided you with pricing prior to your enrollment; if you need to verify identity, you can ask them to look up that pricing and re-confirm it with you. 

Would anyone other than a Martin Group staff member call me about our copier?

If you lease your equipment, Martin Group’s leasing partners could contact you. These partners received the make, model, and serial number of your equipment when your lease was executed; so, they won’t call you to ask you for it, either.  These partners include GreatAmerica Leasing Company, Konica Minolta Premier Finance/US Bank, and Municipal Capital. 

Your account representative would have given you the name of your lender when you signed the sales agreement and lease for your equipment.  Leasing partners do not sell the lease agreements they fund; so, you would never receive a call from someone claiming to be your "new" lender during the middle of an existing lease.

When in doubt, please feel free to call us to verify the authenticity of any caller.