How or where can someone go to check the credentials of any online travel agencies to verify if they are a legitimate business or just a scam. I know how to do this in Canada but where do I look for U.S. agencies?
There are a number of means of checking to see if they "exist". Pretty common means would be to check to see if they are members of industry organizations such CLIA (Cruise Lines Industry Association(www.cruising.org), ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents). Find out where the business is licensed and check to see if they're members of, or had complaints registered against them, with the Better Business Bureau.
Interestingly though.. none of these organizations have any sort of regulatory control over it's members. Should a problem arise with a member TA they will be of little or no assistance, but to begin with they can at least confirm the agency you're looking at is a member in good standing. Which really only means their dues are paid <G>
I would definately recomend checking out the Better Business Bureau at http://www.bbb.org Also, some states regulate the individual travel agents within that state. Florida is one such state that does this. Hope this helps.