While the heat of Summer might not be winding down for several more months, the lazy carefree, kids-are-out-of-school-days most certainly are. That means many area families are looking to find a way to have another getaway before school begins. That means bargain hunting if you're like me and travel on a budget.

Don't let your desire to save a few bucks turn a dream vacation deal into a lost money nightmare. The Better Business Bureau is now warning consumers of another online scam that appears to come from legitimate resorts and rental properties.

The scam works like this. Scammers rewrite or just cut and paste information and pictures off of legitimate travel websites. These sites copycat sites look pretty slick so it can be pretty easy to be fooled. The scammers then offer a deal that sounds too good to be true but you have to act fast and pay in full up front. That's where they get you.

In many cases the haste to secure the deal has overshadowed the spirit of "caveat emptor", let the buyer beware. While it's true many legitimate resorts, hotels, and rent by owner sites offer end of season deals, they also don't mind taking a phone call and answering your questions. They also don't encourage you to pay with a gift card or bank wire.

For me, the "gift card" is the tell. Once you've handed someone a gift card or the number of an activated gift card your money is gone. Don't be left out on the beach with nothing but sand in your pockets. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is to do your research before you hit send, especially where your money is concerned.