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 user 2009-10-02 at 2:11:36 pm Views: 53
  • #22393
    the “toner phoners.” Officials from the local Better Business Bureau
    are warning businesses of a scam where people masquerading as
    representatives from office equipment and supply companies try to sell
    inferior products at inflated prices.A customer of an Alexandria
    company, Cunningham Business Systems, was a recent target.”We’re trying
    to alert our businesses,” said Robin Guenard, director of operations
    for the BBB Serving Central Louisiana and the Ark-La-Tex. “Let them
    know this is out there, there are some calls being made, but it is a
    scam so be aware.”"I don’t want to see anybody get hurt by something as
    ridiculous as what these people are trying to do,” said Patrick
    Cunningham, owner of Cunningham Business Systems.

    The way the
    scam works, a business gets a call from someone claiming to be with
    their equipment or supply vendor, and asking questions about the make
    and model of their equipment and what kind of supplies, such as toner,
    they need.The scammer then offers to sell products at discounted
    prices, usually claiming that they are liquidating stock and pressuring
    the business to make a decision right away. When the product arrives,
    it is usually inferior and overpriced, but some businesses may
    unwittingly sign for and use the product and thus end up paying for
    it.In Cunningham’s case, the caller claimed to be from the company’s
    satellite office in Ball. The customer was suspicious because they knew
    Cunningham does not have an office in Ball and did not recognize the
    caller. They hung up and called Cunningham’s office.

    Cunningham said, is exactly what businesses should do if they have any
    doubts that someone calling them and claiming to be their vendor is
    legitimate.”Any time someone calls you and wants information about your
    equipment, or do you need toner … if they’re doing business with you,
    they should have a record of your equipment, your lease, whether your
    contract includes toner,” Cunningham said. “If you don’t recognize the
    person who’s calling, get their number and say you’ll call them back.
    You will never get that number, and they’ll have every excuse in the
    world why you need to do this now.”Better yet, call the person you do
    know before you give any information. If you call your vendor and say
    this is what’s going on, you’ll find they didn’t call you.”

    Fisher, president of the BBB Serving Central Louisiana and the
    Ark-La-Tex, echoed that thought.”Any type of telemarketer, you should
    be very careful about what you tell them,” Fisher said. “Unless you
    initiate the call yourself, you should not give them personal or
    company information. You just need to be very careful about who you’re
    dealing with. If you don’t know them, you shouldn’t deal with them.”