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LIVING IN FRANCE

Warning issued over French carte vitale scams

Residents of France who are registered in the French health system have been targeted in a scam relating to the carte vitale health card.

Warning issued over French carte vitale scams
Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP

Scams arriving via email or text message are unfortunately a part of live in France, but the latest one doing the rounds relates to the carte vitale – the vital card for accessing State healthcare.

Numerous residents of France report being targeted by messages telling them either that their card needed renewing, or that their new card was ready and including a website link to click on.

The link then asked for credit card details to cover the cost of postage – these messages are not legitimate.

The French state health system Assurance maladie has issued a warning about this and similar scams, warning that you should never give out personal details such as ID, bank details or social security number over email or SMS.

Because the French health system works on a reimbursement model – you pay upfront for medical appointments and prescriptions and then the money is fully or partially reimbursed straight into your bank account – Assurance maladie already has bank details for registered users and will never need to ask for them. 

A spokesman said: “Assurance Maladie never asks for personal information (medical information, social security number or bank details) by e-mail outside the secure space of the Ameli account.

“All messages of this type are attempts at ‘phishing’.”

Renewing a carte vitale

The carte vitale allows you to access French state-funded healthcare, and if you have been a full-time resident in France for more than three months you are entitled to apply for one – here’s how.

Once you have the card, it does not need to be regularly renewed so there should be no need to apply for a new one.

If your card has been damaged, lost or stolen, you can request a new one be sent out. The simplest way to do this is via your online Ameli account – if you don’t have one, here’s how that works – or by contacting your local CPAM office by phone or in person. There is no charge for a new card to be sent out.

If you haven’t used your card for more than a year – ie you have had no doctor’s appointments, medical treatments or pharmacy prescriptions – you may be asked to reactivate the card, you can do this at a borne (card reader machine) in a pharmacy, or ask your pharmacist or doctor to do it for you. This does not require a new card.

If you’re travelling to another EU country you will need a Carte européenne d’assurance maladie (CEAM) in order to ensure that any medical treatment you need while abroad will be covered. These are also sent out free of charge, but the cards only last for two years and – annoyingly – there is no reminder sent out when your card expires, so it’s up to you to remember to order a new one.

Like the carte vitale, you can order one via Amelie or your local CPAM office. 

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HEALTH

France’s monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

France has detected 277 cases of monkeypox, health authorities said Tuesday, June 21st, including the first case in the country of a woman contracting the virus.

France's monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

The case numbers have risen steeply since the last official figure of 183 cases five days earlier. But there have been no deaths in France attributed to monkeypox.

The normal initial symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

Until recently, the viral disease had generally been confined to Western and Central Africa but is now present in several continents, particularly Europe.

Among the latest cases recorded in France, “a first female case has been confirmed, the mode of transmission of which is currently being investigated, and all the others are men,” the French national public health agency said in a statement.

So far, the recent outbreak of monkeypox, which is currently affecting some 40 countries, has mainly affected men who have engaged in gay sex.

The World Health Organization is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

The virus usually clears up after two or three weeks.

Most of the cases identified in France have been found in Paris and its suburbs, though smaller outbreaks have been seen in several regions throughout the country, including Normandy in the north and the Cote d’Azur in the south.

The first monkeypox case in France was discovered on May 20, the same day the virus was detected in neighbouring Germany.

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