I’m often warning folk to be wary of the first few items on a list of google search results – the ‘sponsored links’, which may not be the most relevant or best value or at worst, complete ‘rip-offs’. I’ve been caught out myself, when googling ‘passport renewal’ and following one of the ‘sponsored links’, which are not to the official government site at all.
How embarrassing then almost to fall for it again at the Gillespie Crescent computer club yesterday. We were having a look together at the NHS Scotland ‘Fit for Travel’ website, since a few club members are off on holiday in a few weeks. I’d been on it earlier and found a link to the online application form for the European Health Insurance Card, which looked useful. Come the session though, I couldn’t find it. ‘No problem’ I say confidently, ‘let’s google it’ and type in ‘EHIC’, clicking on the first link I see. Fortunately, my trusty Volunteers are more alert. ‘I thought it was free?’ says Lindsey, spotting the £23.50 ‘standard application’ fee. Bob then sounds the necessary caution. ‘You have to be careful not to end up on one of these 3rd party sites that offer to process the application for you.’ Quite right! How could I have been so careless! Thanks to others’ vigilance, I’m spared further embarrassment and it turns into a useful lesson instead!