Supplier Scams

In the interest of protecting the College, the Purchasing Department would like to advise faculty and staff of potentially fraudulent activities by vendors who have not been approved to do business with Seminole State College.

In some cases, unauthorized supplier representatives will employ questionable business tactics to market "special promotions" or "limited time offers" via telephone or email for materials such as copier toner, office supplies and maintenance items. These telemarketers may call a College employee, state that they work for a Seminole State College-approved supplier, and try to convince them to order items or authorize the shipment of goods.

Supplies sold by such representatives are usually inferior in quality and priced significantly higher than the fair market value offered by College-approved suppliers.

Identifying Potential Scams

Supplier scams may be difficult to recognize. Scammers may incorporate a variety of tactics in an attempt to deceive College employees, such as:

  • Calling about renewal orders that were never placed or received
  • Sending invoices for goods that were never ordered and/or shipped
  • Assigning quick deadlines to special promotions or sales
  • Seeking pre-authorization for future shipments

Common Types of Scams

 

Advertisement Scams

Unknown and disreputable publications often contain fraudulent advertisements. Faculty and staff should be skeptical of product and service ads in this type of publication, especially those touting a "good" cause (veterans, minorities, etc.).

Copier Toner Scams

Fraudulent copier toner sales are one of the most prevalent types of scams in the workplace today. Unethical toner sales people often uncover information about potential victims before calling them in order to look more reputable and sound more convincing. Sometimes, they contact an unsuspecting faculty or staff member to gather information about the equipment in his or her department. They then reach out to a different employee, using the information they extracted to act and sound like the department's regular supplier.

Faculty and staff should never purchase copier toner from unknown or questionable sales representatives. Doing so will only increase scammers' interest in the College.

Office Supply Scams

Office supply scams often begin with a supplier's tales of woe -- "We're going out of business;" "Someone died and we have to liquidate;" "A misdirected trailer is located near the College, and we have to get rid of the items inside;" etc. The scammer will make the situation sound urgent and promise a good deal to the department representative. In reality, the price is usually 2-10 times higher than it would be through a Seminole State College approved supplier such as Office Depot. Product quality and warranty may also be issues, since these "companies" frequently change their names and move to a new location.


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