Carefully scrutinize that holiday getaway deal before you book. If a travel sale seems too good to be true, chances are it probably is.
Online hotel booking scams are on the rise, warns the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Last year, the industry group reports, consumers made 55 million bookings through websites they thought belonged to a hotel — but later realized was actually a rogue third-party operator. That's more than triple the number of fraudulent bookings reported in 2015.
The damage to consumers: Nearly $4 billion in misleading bookings.
This "mirror site" deception, where misleading webpages purport to be a company they're not, is among the most popular online travel scams, said Maryam Cope, vice president of government affairs at AHLA. Rogue sites can be tricky to spot since they often use the resort's name in the link, set up fake phone numbers, buy ad words, and cover the webpage with real photos of the hotel and its logo.