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Supplier Scams

Watch out for a telephone or e-mail solicitor who contacts you offering "a special sale!" It could be a supplier scam. Read the guidelines below to find out what to do.

UC San Diego departments are often targets of unscrupulous companies or individuals who canvass phone numbers and monitor a company's Internet purchasing. They hope to find victims who will buy bogus, damaged, or discontinued products at exorbitant prices. The most common commodities are copier toner, printer cartridges, and Latex gloves.

Note: If Imprints provides your copier service, supplies such as toner are included in your service agreement. Therefore, please refuse any form of solicitation for toner for an Imprints-provided machine.

Report a scam

If you identify a supplier scam, immediately contact Todd Adams, (858) 534-6700. If the incident includes copier toner or printer cartridges, also contact Imprints (858) 534-3020

Identify a scam

Because these solicitors often know the type of item you normally order, identifying a scam can be difficult. Here are some tips:

  • If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
    • Supplier scams assume that you don't compare prices or check your invoices. In a recent incident, a scam supplier attempted to sell a UCSD department copier toner valued at $25 for over $600 with shipping and handling costs.
    • Don't fall for unreasonable discounts. There are usually hidden costs involved.
  • Be aware of the "sales pitch." Here are some common examples:
    • "We're raising prices and have several cartons at the old price."
    • "We're selling discontinued items at close-out prices."
    • "This is a call on behalf of [department's usual supplier]."
    • "We have free items or gifts for ordering."
    • "You must order today to take advantage of the price."
    • "We're a function of your service agreement."
  • Other sure-fire ways to identify a scam:
    • Scammers won't give their full names or provide telephone numbers.
    • The company's name is similar to your normal supplier's name.
    • They won't send you a quote, or anything in writing.
    • Scammers ask for your Social Security number or credit card number so you can qualify, or to identify your purchase.


Don't be a victim. You can guard against supplier scams by using the following guidelines:

  • Allow only designated department buyers to place orders.
  • Use only known companies — or ask for references.
  • Don't give any information about your office equipment over the telephone or via e-mail to unfamiliar suppliers.
  • Don't respond to unsolicited e-mails from unfamiliar suppliers.
  • Never place an order via e-mail to a supplier you don't know.
  • Return or refuse all items received from an apparent scam.
  • Do not authorize payment for transactions you believe to be scams.

If you are unsure about dealing with a supplier, contact Integrated Procure-to-Pay Solutions through ASK (login required)


Note: this page has a friendly link that's easy to remember: http://blink.ucsd.edu/go/scams