Avoid websites that charge for free emergency care abroad
A great tip-off from avid Bitterwallet reader Craig has dropped into our inbox, and one worth reading if you're in the midst of planning your family holidays:
Most people probably know that in Europe there's a reciprocal system in place where you can get basic emergency care abroad that's funded by the NHS. This used to mean registering to receive an E111 card, but now there's the EHIC - the European Health Insurance Card.
Trouble is, some mercenary fuckers seem to have noticed that with a bit of judicious SEO, they can get on the gravy train. Search Google UK for "EHIC" and the first two sites on the list (www.ehic.org and www.ehic.uk.com) both require a payment of £9.95 for "processing" your application. And ehic.uk.com even have some weasel-words on the site which make it clear they know which side of the ethical line they are on.
I nearly walked into this scummy trap, and I'm sure others might follow.
The site Craig mentions, ehic.org.uk, states somewhere near the very bottom of the front page that "the service charge incurred is payable privately to Imap (UK) Limited who are by no means affiliated to or linked in any way to the NHSBSA [NHS Business Services Authority]." So who are Imap (UK) Limited, then?
Why, they're independent mortgage advisers involved in flogging debt consolidation services. So not only do they charge you for a free service, but you're handing over your personal details (including date of birth and NI number) to a debt consolidation company, and give them permission to use your information in the process. Avoid like the plague.