Watch your cash before you fly warns MEP

Don't get ripped off before your holiday is the warning from a Scots MEP.

It’s not just pickpockets in the resort we have to worry about; it’s the scam merchants here.

Alyn Smith MEP said:

“Increasing numbers of Scots are falling victim to unofficial websites charging for EU health cover cards.  The EHIC cards, which offer healthcare cover anywhere in the EU, are free from the NHS but scammers are charging for them online.

“Every year people get ripped off by these online scams and it can be avoided just by using the proper NHS site.  The rule to remember is simple; if anyone tries to charge you it's a scam.

“Anyone can be a victim of this; it’s aimed at people who prepare properly.  I want to make sure everyone’s aware the cards are free for every European citizen.

“The scam websites ask you to fill in your details and pay.  Your details are just sent to the official NHS site, and the scammer pockets your money.  It’s the NHS that sends your card out.”

Jim Herron, from North Lanarkshire said:

“I renewed the EU Health Cards for my wife and I on an official-looking website and was charged £19.99 for the privilege.

“It’s easy to be tricked into passing on personal details and credit card numbers to dubious private companies.  It really concerns me that a third party now has my National Insurance number, and could possibly use it for illegal purposes.

“It's not a lot of money but it is a rip off and the credit card company won’t refund the money.”

Reminding people travelling abroad this summer to be prepared, Smith said:

“If you need healthcare in the EU, the EHIC card helps and if you need any of the emergency services there’s the European emergency call number – 112.  It works all over the EU, all 28 countries, and connects to all the emergency services in the country you’re in.  It works here, too, just like 999.”