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Warning over new scam on French carte Vitale healthcare cards

Texts, supposedly from Assurance Maladie, claim that the recipient must pay for the delivery of an new carte Vitale, even though the cards never expire

Assurance maladie has issued a warning over a new carte Vitale scam Pic: GERARD BOTTINO / Shutterstock

People in France are being warned of a phishing scam involving fake texts regarding cartes Vitale. 

Scammers send a text entitled: ‘Assurance Maladie: expiration de votre carte Vitale, à mettre à jour rapidement’ (Assurance Maladie: expiry of your carte Vitale, to be updated quickly) and with a link to a website which looks very like that of Ameli.

This will ask the scam target to provide certain personal information including their name, email address, postal address and bank card number.

The scammers ask for bank details on the pretext that there is a delivery fee for sending the new card. This normally ranges between €0.95 and €4.90, for a card which will never arrive.

If you do enter your bank card details, the scammers will save them for more significant transactions further down the line.

In reality, cartes Vitale never expire – although they can in some cases be deactivated if the person leaves the healthcare system – and so if you receive the text you should disregard it immediately. 

Cartes Vitale do need to be updated every year or so, but this is done by inserting the card into a machine at a pharmacy, and not by ordering a new one.

‘Phishing’ (or hameçonnage in French) refers to scams that use websites that appear legitimate to trick people out of paying extra fees or entering personal details.

Read more: French health insurance data leak: what to do if you are affected

Advice from Assurance Maladie 

Assurance Maladie details several different scams which people should be aware of on its website, including a text which claims that the recipient is owed a significant sum in healthcare reimbursements and asking for their bank details for payment.

Assurance Maladie warns that you should never share bank or personal details by email or text.

Emails from Assurance Maladie will never come from a personal email address, will never ask for personal details or ask for validation on a reimbursement, and will never write in red in its messages. 

You should also avoid clicking on a link which seems strange, and to only communicate with public organisations through your own online account or by ringing them.

If you have already shared your bank details, you should cancel your card as soon as possible so that the scammers cannot use your account.

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