Lifting the Eye-Patch: How to Recognize a Toner Pirate


Life would be a whole lot easier if digital bad guys actually looked as devious as they are. Instead, these clever criminals convince you that they're on your side--and no one is quite as good at this scam as the infamous toner pirates. Here's what you need to know to lift the eye-patch and catch toner pirates red-handed (or red-hooked?).

Toner Pirate Red Flags

The truth about toner pirates is that they're smart. So smart, in fact, that they often know how to slip past multiple people in your company and end up with all the information they need--so to recognize a toner pirate before they manage to board your ship, here's what they look like (and a few red flags that give them away).

Step 1: A Friendly Call

The first place you can catch a toner pirate is over the phone. They call to gather information about your company, printers, and toner needs--and they often act like your provider. Here, you'll find the first red flag: suspicious questions.

Savvy companies know that their provider would never be asking about the make and model of their printers or how much toner they use. Your provider should already know this--so if you get this call, you're probably on the line with a toner pirate.

Step 2: A Not-so-friendly Invoice

If they manage to get past your defenses, toner pirates will send an invoice to you. This may or may not come with actual toner--but the trick is to make you think you actually ordered it and just pay it automatically.

Printer management helps you catch and overcome this particular red flag. With printer management, you'll always know when you ordered toner, how much, and what the cost was--so any unsolicited invoice will be easy to catch.

Step 3: The Definitely-not-friendly Attack

Say you decided not to pay that fishy invoice. The toner pirates will come after you with a vengeance--but they won't be swinging cutlasses. Instead, they'll send "Payment Due" notices and threaten legal action, hoping to scare you into paying.

This red flag can be scary--but don't give in. Just double-check your legitimate supply orders, call your supplier to confirm, and don't pay that invoice.


Toner pirates can be tricky, but once you know how to lift the eye-patch, they're not so threatening after all. Remember these tips for catching toner pirates, and always be on the lookout for red flags on the horizon.

If you're worried about toner pirates, printer management may be your new best friend. Contact us today for help when you need to batten down the hatches!

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