Fraudsters targetting EHIC travellers- and why you need an EHIC

eurosCopycat websites are still all the rage, and the latest trend is for shysters to set up websites to sell you a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) even though you can get them for absolutely nothing. But the reason this seems to be such a rich vein for the fraudsters is that it seems many people don't know that the cards are free.

According to our friends over at Which!!!, 20% of British adults, that’s one in five, didn’t know that EHIC cards are free for UK residents. They also found that almost one in 16 UK adults who’d been to Europe in the last five years had paid for an EHIC card.

The problem is, of course, that most search engines carry ads for third party websites at the top of search results pages. Copycat websites exploit this, and make themselves as official-looking as possible, so that you think you’re on the proper site, when actually you are being taken for a mug.

Which!!! reckon that the two of the most prominent adverts for EHIC cards promoted via top search bot Google lead to copycat sites charging between £24 and £35 per card, instead of getting a free EHIC card from

But why do I need an EHIC?

Many people think that if they have travel insurance, they don’t need an EHIC. This simply isn’t true. An EHIC will enable you to access state-provided healthcare (NHS equivalent) in European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland, at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. For example, if you want to see a GP in France, say, you will have to pay a standard amount for the consultation; showing your EHIC card will reduce the amount you pay. If you need ongoing medical care, the EHIC card will cover your treatment until you return to the UK. Unlike many travel insurance policies, the EHIC will also cover treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine (i.e not planned birth) maternity care. The NHS has a specific country-by-country guide if you want to check a particular treatment in a certain country.

But while EHIC covers state medical services, it will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK (or, obviously, lost or stolen property), which is why you buy your travel insurance. Some insurers will allow you to reclaim any costs incurred abroad, such as those charged for seeing a GP as above, but some will only refund the EHIC-net cost and some now insist that you hold an EHIC, while others will waive any excess if you have used your EHIC. So being as it costs nothing but a few minutes of your time, you’d be a fool not to get one- and carry it with you when in Europe.


  • Mr S.
    Another problem is, not so long ago if you googled : NHS EHIC Renewal top of the list comes the very official looking fraudsters web sites. One gave the instructions/directions " NHS WEB SITE > " " APPLY NOW ". people would follow those crystal clear instructions believing they were NOW in fact in the official NHS web site. After filling in the form with all your confidential information you was left with the impression the NHS was now charging for an EHIC. Once you received your e-mail receipt you would straight away realize that you had been scammed. It's my understanding thousands of other people did not even realize they had been cleverly scammed. The other problem is one of the web sites in question very cleverly hide who they were and they had past form for ripping off vulnerable people. The people behind this scam web site have thousands upon thousands of peoples confidential information such as full name, date of birth, address, national insurance numbers and national health numbers. This information is a treasure chest of information for fraudsters. It's now time for the National Health Service to make it a legal requirement that only the person or parent of the child the EHIC is to be issued to may apply. This would only require a tick in the box and would make it totally impossible for these scam web sites to operate. End Of Story, Problem Solved. It's my understanding that the authorities are presently focusing on these web sites.
  • Ardbeg
    Mr Seymore, might you be referring to this mob?
  • Mr S.
    Ardbeg, They stopped scamming from that web site after being exposed and simply set up as & Trouble is, anyone can set up one of these web sites and then register with the ICO. With what we have learned it's no surprise that identity theft is so wide spread when any Tom, Dick and Harry can easily set up a web site that can request your personal details. It's all done on trust and the problem is some of these companies/people are dodgy. These web sites need to be urgently regulated, better still STOPPED.

What do you think?

Your comment