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Travel Tip: Watch Out For These Scam Hotel Booking Sites

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hotel_sign1Booking a room may seem as easy as simply going online, but watch out. Things may not be as straightforward as they seem.

A new trend is surfacing where booking sites are made to look like hotel websites, but in reality they’re third-party sites that aren’t affiliated with the hotel.

We’re not talking about the Expedias and Pricelines of the world.

These are sites that use hotel logos and images to make it seem like they’re official partners.

One U.S. senator has even asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate these misleading sites.

As many as 2.5 million bookings—which translates to about $220 million—are believed to come from these third-party sites.

They may add extra booking fees—or require you to prepay—with no recourse if something goes wrong.

You may not collect hotel loyalty points or be able to make special requests.

This brings me back to my tried-and-true advice: pick up the phone, not your laptop, to make your booking.

For more information about travel scams to avoid, check out:

Keep reading for more travel tips.