The Paper Chase
Jeff Aufdencamp’s been through the paper roll scam numerous times.
Now and then a caller rings up one of his four Mama Mimi’s Take ‘N Bake Pizza stores and asks to speak with the person who buys paper rolls for the credit card machine, the adding machine or the POS system. It’s a courtesy call, the person says, to ensure the employee on the phone knows to expect a case of paper already on the way there. Unwittingly, the employee says OKs, and in a few days, a case of paper and an invoice arrive.
Problem is neither Aufdencamp nor his wife, Jodi—the only people authorized to buy paper—ordered it. Worse yet, the price typically is three times higher than Aufdencamp’s regular cost.
“We try to train our people not to even talk to these guys,” said Aufdencamp, whose business is in Columbus, Ohio. “But in our business, your staff is going to turnover once in the course of a year, and I think (the scammers) know that.”
The cost of the paper is generally less than $100, an amount Aufdencamp said some operators might just pay without thinking about.
“It’s a nickel-and-dime business,” he said. “They think if they keep the amount low, it’s not going to raise too many eyebrows. But if you do that on several hundred cases of paper a month to a lot of restaurants, the money gets big.”
Avoiding the scam is pretty simple, Aufdencamp said:
“If you have any kind of machine that uses a paper roll, they’ll try it on you,” she said. Her strategy for slowing down the scammers: “Just hang up. They’re not worth your time.”