RENO, NV - Marianne Bartley is used to seeing online scams.
The reason she almost fell for one this day is that it looked to be coming from a company she shops frequently and trusts at their local stores and online. "Costco's a very reputable company. I believe in them so I almost didn't think twice."
The scam came in the form of an email, which said there had been a problem with an order for home delivery, an address that hadn't been correct. "They were going to refund me, but if I didn't do it within a week then I would be fined 21 percent."
But something didn't seem right. "The language grammatically was not quite right. It didn't ring true and I had to reread it."
The language is awkward, phrasing that would cause a high school English teacher to wince. Plus, a real corporate email should spell the word 'don't' with its apostrophe. This one didn't.
And then there was that threat to charge her 21 percent of the order.
"What is that? That's just odd. It's an odd amount and why would I be fined that? The logic wasn't there."
Instead of filling out that form, she made a few calls.
Others have been doing the same, and if you call Costco's national customer service line you'll hear this warning: "If you received an email concerning a delivery failure or cancellation, immediately delete the email and do not reply. This is a phishing scam and was not sent by Costco. Costco is not affiliated with the email in any way."
"There's a lot of scams out there," says Bartley, "and even if you see their name and you recognize it as being reputable, it's not them. You're dealing with someone posing to be them."
She called KOLO 8 wanting to alert others to the scam.
What would she say to the author of the email if she could? "Get a life, not mine."