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Hotel booking scam targeting Labor Day travelers

Do you have big plans for the Labor Day holiday? Millions of Americans are expected to hit the road for an end-of-summer excursion.

If you haven’t made travel plans yet, it’s not too late. There’s still time to get out there and enjoy the terrific weather. However, you do need to be careful when making reservations online, scammers are out in full force.

Watch out for Labor Day hotel scams

One of the best things about the internet is being able to scope out deals on pretty much everything that you buy. Clothing, vehicles, electronics, even groceries can be purchased through numerous websites.

The downside is the copious amount of scammers looking to rip us off. That’s exactly what’s happening right now. Fraudsters are trying to take advantage of travelers booking hotels online for the Labor Day holiday.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), millions of dollars are lost every year from online hotel booking scams. Cybercriminals are now targeting Labor Day travelers.

The problem is, when a consumer does an online search, for example, “find discount hotels in Seattle.” Many times the search results include fraudulent websites that are created to look like the hotels’ official site. If you book a room through one of these spoofed sites, you’re giving your critical information directly to the scammer.

This can lead to several horrible results. Identity theft, and fraudulent charges on your credit/debit card to name a couple.

To make matters worse, when you get to the hotel you find out that you don’t even have a reservation. If there are no rooms available, you’re left out in the cold with nowhere to go. And if there are rooms, you’ll probably have to pay a heftier price than what you were quoted through the fake site. It’s just a bad situation to find yourself in.

How to safely book hotels online

The best advice is to NOT click on unfamiliar websites that you find through an online search or unsolicited emails. It could be fraudulent or even a phishing scam trying to trick you into clicking links that will result in your gadget being infected with malware.

Only book hotels through trusted sites like Kayak, Travelocity or TravelZoo. It’s the best way to know you’re not being scammed through a spoofed site.

(Bonus: If you’re looking to travel by air, I recommend using Google Flights.)

If you believe that you have stumbled across a fraudulent site, you should report it to the FTC. Click here to file a complaint.

Now that you know how to safely book your travel plans, get out there and enjoy the holiday weekend. You’ll be glad that you did.

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