Scam artists target local computer business

Kiosk Computer owner Rob Knorr is wiping his brow after narrowly avoiding being duped by a pair of suspected scammers.

Kiosk Computer owner Rob Knorr is wiping his brow after narrowly avoiding being duped by a pair of suspected scammers.

Over the period of a month, the pair allegedly tried to bilk his Whitehorse-based business out of $10,000 worth of electronics.

“As a small business I’m the sole proprietor and that would have ruined me,” said Knorr.

Last month, Knorr got an offer that seemed too good to be true.

A man named Daniel Blue, who claimed to be calling from Ontario, wanted to buy five laptop computers — a sale that would have brought $10,000 to Knorr’s two-year-old company.

It seemed a good offer.

As a middleman, Knorr would research laptop vendors and find Blue the best price for the computers.

But something about Blue didn’t sit right with Knorr.

Blue called Knorr through IP relay, a service that allows people who are deaf or unable to talk over the phone to communicate through an operator.

Blue claimed to work for a non-profit that helps other non-profit organizations.

He called the company Traders Emporium, but he didn’t give any specific names of non-profit societies it was associated with.

“He was vague, I couldn’t get specific information from him — he just danced around,” said Knorr.

Blue told him that he chose Kiosk because it was a small company. He needed personalized attention, he said.

They had a few conversations over the phone and then moved to internet messaging.

When Knorr asked about payment for the laptops Blue found every reason to put it off.

By this time Knorr knew something was rotten.

He began researching the situation and, after punching a few keywords into Google, Knorr ended up at a website called Scam-o-Rama.

The website outlines some of the most common phone and internet cons. Listed there was one called the Deaf Relay.

The facts of the scam mirror what happened to Knorr.

Late last week, Knorr was contacted again, this time by a woman who called herself Margie Messienger.

She told him that Blue was ill and was in the hospital so she would take over the laptop purchase.

But she could only pay by credit card — a service Knorr didn’t have set up at his business.

Knorr set up the account, which cost $269.

Messienger gave him a credit card number for the purchase.

When Knorr ran it through the machine, it was declined.

Messienger promised to check the credit card provider and contact Knorr again a few hours later.

That was last Thursday. Knorr hasn’t heard from them since.

Now Knorr is a little more than $300 (the cost of setting up the credit card account) in the hole. It could have been a lot worse.

Knorr is making a point of getting his story out so others don’t fall for the same scam.

“I’m not embarrassed — I was aware I covered my bases and asked for the correct information and didn’t take it too serious when they gave me the runaround,” said Knorr.

Similar scammers have contacted other businesses in town, but the owners haven’t come forward.

“It think they’re targeting this area code.

“This has happened several times in the city, but no one’s heard about it,” said Knorr.

“If other people had stepped up and had gotten this into the media, I might not to have waste $500 and a month’s worth of time.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Patti Balsillie will be running for the mayor’s seat in Whitehorse in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Submitted)
Balsillie aims to serve as city’s mayor

Says she has the time, skill set to serve in full-time role

Mayo-Tatchun MLA Don Hutton sits on the opposition side of the legislative assembly on March 8 after announcing his resignation from the Liberal party earlier that day. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Don Hutton resigns from Liberal caucus; endorses NDP leadership

Hutton said his concerns about alcohol abuse and addictions have gone unaddressed

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read