You spent hours scouring websites, hunting for the best hotel deal. Although you thought you booked it, the front desk agent says there is no record of your reservation. You’re not even in the system.

This occurrence is becoming increasingly common. American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) reports a disturbing spike in online booking scams. Of the 2.5 million bookings each year, it is estimated that $220 million worth of potential hotel revenue is received by rogue vendors. In addition to lost reservations, guests face additional cancellation and booking fees.

AHLA offers these measures to prevent online booking scams:

Know which website you are booking through. Third-party vendors can lure customers with deals that seem too good to be true. They are also unlikely to offer any customer service.
The safest bet is to reserve directly with the hotel, by phone or through its official website. Double check the URL to make sure the website is not a disguised third-party vendor.
Confirm directly with the hotel after booking your room. Ensure that your reservation and points are protected. If the website is not affiliated with the hotel, your guest points may not be honored.
Be aware of the cancellation and trip-change policy. Third-party vendors may not permit changes or refunds.
If it is a secure payment website, the URL will display a lock icon and begin with https:// instead of http://.