An office supply scam is a scam that involves you receiving and being charged for goods that you did not order. These scams often involve goods or services that you regularly order: paper, printing supplies, maintenance supplies or advertising. You might receive a phone call from someone claiming to be your ‘regular supplier’, telling you that the offer is a ‘special’ or available ‘for a limited time only’. If you agree to buy any of these supplies that are offered to you, they will often be overpriced and bad quality.
If you have been approached about purchasing office supplies, or if you are interested in the products for sale, consider asking new suppliers to first send a free catalogue. Make sure you know who is selling you the supplies on offer, the total cost of the products or services they’re offering, any restrictions on getting or using them, and the seller’s refunds policy before you commit to any purchase whatsoever.
Be sure to check with the ACCC or your local fair trading agency—they can tell you if they have taken legal action against the person who has contacted you. Check out the ACCC brochure Scams: protect your business from them for more information and tips about common small business scams.
Never buy office supplies from a seller you don’t know and trust without fully considering what they are offering—the price, the quality of the products and any conditions attached to the sale. Don’t let tactics like bullying, negotiations for a lower price or charges for returned products affect your decision.
If you have received a fraudulent office supplies telemarketing call, or if you have sent money to pay for an order which you now realise is a scam, you can report it through the SCAMwatch website. You should also spread the word to your friends, family and colleagues to protect them.