Did you know that one in four American travelers have fallen for lookalike hotel booking websites, according to a report released this year? Increasingly, fraudsters are creating fake booking sites to scam travelers out of their money.
There are precautions you can take to make sure your online hotel booking is legitimate. Here's what you should keep in mind:
1. Check for a Secure URL: According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, most legitimate hotel sites will have an "https://" URL rather than a "http://" URL, which means that it is a secure site. Avoid sharing credit card or any other personal information on an unsecure site.
2. Check Refund Policy: Most hotels will only charge you when you arrive, or only charge a deposit when you reserve the room. Be wary of sites that ask for full, non-refundable payments upfront.
3. Communicate Directly with the Hotel: When in doubt, call or email the hotel directly to verify that your booking on a third-party site went through.
If you believe you've been scammed by a fake hotel booking site, immediately contact your credit card company and report the site to authorities.
Don't let a hotel booking scam ruin your next trip--stay safe!