At a hearing dedicated to examining the cost of scams on U.S. consumers and the economy, as well as the efficacy of law enforcement and prevention efforts being implemented to combat them, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) questioned Maureen Ohlhausen, Acting Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, for an update on what was being done to address the specific issue of online hotel booking scams from a regulatory standpoint. "One of the trends that we've seen threaten this huge industry, which, of course, has so many jobs in our country…is the rise of deceptive online companies that imitate the websites of hotels or airlines in order to attract booking," Senator Klobuchar said. In fact, some 15 million online hotel booking scams occur every year, translating to $1.3 billion in bad bookings. With most consumers searching at least seven to ten websites before booking a reservation, it's become more common for rogue third-party online booking sites to find ways to piggy-back on legitimate hotels. These rogue sites trick consumers by mirroring the look and feel of the actual hotel website – using copyrighted images, trademarked logos and many times, even similar URLs – and essentially charge them for a service they never intend to provide. This is why, Senator Klobuchar said, Congress developed bipartisan, bicameral legislation requiring third-party hotel booking websites to clearly disclose they are not affiliated with the hotel for which the traveler is ultimately making the reservation, as well as implored the FTC to investigate the issue. Get the full story at AHLA