It’s important for everyone to protect their data and identity. However, it’s especially important for travel nurses. You should be able to just do your job taking care of patients, not having to worry about identity thieves selling your data or becoming victim to healthcare travel scams. Here’s how to keep your contact information private, avoid travel nurse scams, and protect your identity while traveling.
- Safeguard your contact information
- Be wary of travel nurse scams
- Practice general internet safety
- General fraud tips
Safeguard your contact information
One of the biggest issues we hear from travelers is that they’re overwhelmed with calls and emails from recruiters, including ones they never gave their contact information. Not only does this waste your time with agencies or jobs you’re not interested in, but it’s also a data breach.
Avoid sharing your contact information with these sites and companies so you can maintain your privacy.
Ever been on a website that says they’ll help “great jobs find you!”? Or asks you to fill out an application that will connect you with top agencies? Most likely, you stumbled upon a broadcast service website.
Broadcast services are resources that offer to share your interest in travel nursing with agencies. These companies exist to generate leads to sell to third parties, like staffing agencies. When you give them your contact information, they’ll sell it to other companies, which is why you end up getting a bunch of unwanted phone calls and emails afterward.
You can ask the broadcast service to stop selling your contact information, but once it’s been sold, there’s nothing that can be done to stop it from being used. It’s really annoying to be spammed and it’s even more frustrating to have been tricked into giving up your personal information.
Affiliate broadcast companies
There’s a similar type of broadcast service that won’t necessarily sell your data, but is still dishonest. These sites are called affiliate broadcast companies or shell broadcast companies.
Affiliate broadcast companies are owned by some of the largest healthcare staffing agencies in the country, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at their website. They seem independent from a glance, and their branding is probably completely different from their parent company.
They’ll make claims like they “partner with the nation’s largest staffing agencies,” but really, they are one of the nation’s largest staffing agencies. What ends up happening is travelers give contact information to a company that otherwise they might not have, if they knew who the company really was.
Continuing education units (CEU) and career sites
While websites that offer CEUs or other content advice can be a great resource for healthcare professionals, be mindful when navigating them and sharing your information. Some of these CEU and career advice websites are actually owned by larger healthcare or staffing companies who can use your information for other purposes.
So, when you give your contact information to these sites, you could also be giving it to the parent company or other third parties. It’s misleading (and frustrating) to think you’re giving your information for one purpose, just to have it used for something else, so be careful.
Job boards can be great for finding job opportunities in one spot, but aren't always a guarantee that only real prospective employers will have access to your data. This is because these job boards don’t always have a solid way of verifying who are legitimate employers, and who aren't.
As a result, the data you give a job board could be captured by a broadcast service or other lead generator and then sold to third parties.
How to protect your privacy
Now that you know some websites may be selling your data or using it for other purposes, how do you protect yourself against these practices?
First, review privacy policies before entering your contact information. Legally, companies must disclaim they may sell your data in the fine print.
You can also set up Google Voice or another forwarding service that will filter out prospective calls and messages automatically. Additionally, setting up a separate email for healthcare travel contact is a good way to keep things separated from your mail and other communication.
Most importantly, only use services that won’t sell your data. For example, Marketplace never sells or shares traveler information with third parties or our agency partners. The only way agencies or recruiters on our platform will contact you is if you click “I’m interested” on a job post and agree to sharing your information with that agency.
Be wary of travel nurse scams
Sadly, there are people who pretend to be recruiters to scam healthcare travelers. These scammers seek out travel victims to get personal information to sell to third parties — or even attempt identity fraud by getting your social security number. Here’s how to identify fake staffing agencies and housing scams.
Fake staffing agencies
A real recruiter will never ask for sensitive or private information on social media. That includes social security numbers, credit card information, bank information, account passwords, copy of a driver's license, and medical records. Here are some other red flags to watch for:
You can’t find a website or social media accounts for the agency.
The recruiter insists you send private documents to a personal email address (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc.), rather than a secure website form or portal.
The recruiter blocks you when you ask for contract details.
The recruiter’s social media profile shows a different person than when they originally created their Facebook page. For example, their original profile picture might be of a younger male when you scroll down, but now it's an older female or someone of a different ethnicity.
The job posting has spelling or grammatical errors.
If you’ve spotted any of these red flags or have a gut feeling you might be at risk of dealing with a fake recruiter, ask for:
The company website
What their official application and background check process looks like
How long their company has been in business or if they’re Joint Commission Certified
You can also check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to confirm if the agency is an official business, and when it was created. Healthcare travel Facebook groups like Marketplace Connect are also a great way to ask if other travelers have encountered this agency or search what people are saying about scams they’ve encountered.
Keep in mind, all of Marketplace’s agencies are thoroughly vetted by our team — and are all real agencies.
Housing scams are also common in the healthcare travel community, unfortunately. Scammers create fake listings to get your personal information, or worse, money for a deposit on housing that doesn’t exist. Here are housing red flags to look out for:
The property is too good to be true. If it’s a beautiful property in a great area for an extremely low price, it might be a scam.
There is some type of dramatic story where the property owner pesters you over and over to respond quickly.
The property ad or listing has grammatical and spelling errors.
The property owner won’t give you a virtual tour or FaceTime walkthrough and has multiple excuses for why they can’t.
The property owner will only communicate with you via WhatsApp or Telegram.
There are plenty of trusted travel nurse housing sites available so you don’t fall prey to these scams, including Furnished Finder. In fact, Furnished Finder is built into Marketplace’s platform so you can browse real housing options as you search for your next assignment, and avoid the scammers.
Practice general internet safety
Finally, it’s always a good idea to practice general internet safety to protect your data, especially when traveling. Check out these internet safety tips:
Let your bank know when and to where you are relocating so they can be on the lookout for fraud.
Check your bank account and credit card statements to catch financial fraud immediately.
Prevent identity theft by setting up multi-factor verification on your accounts, especially ones with financial information.
Update the software on your devices often.
Use strong passwords and reset passwords every three months.
Protect yourself by backing up your data.
Keep your device locked.
Only use verified wireless hotspots.
Never perform sensitive activities (checking your bank statement, logging into accounts with personal information) on wireless public networks. Use cellular data or a secure network.
Think before downloading anything. Some downloads may have ransomware in them meant to hack your device and steal your data.
Don’t use publicly accessible computers to check sensitive information.
Be wary when giving out personal information online, like your social security card number and birth date. Once you do that, it's hard to get it back.
When shopping for online purchases, make sure the website looks reputable before putting in your bank or credit card information.
General fraud tips
While internet fraud is common, so is traditional fraud. Here are some general fraud tips to keep in mind as you're traveling:
Keep important documents like your social security card and birth certificate stored in a secure location while on assignment to prevent identity theft.
Regularly check your financial statements to make sure there aren't fraudulent charges. You can also pull a free credit report once a year at Annual Credit Report.
Never write down your account passwords on paper. Instead, use a password tool like 1Password so you always have your information with you.
Don't answer unknown phone calls. If it's important, they'll leave a voicemail!
We hope these tips help you make smarter choices when it comes to sharing your information and other online activities. Identity theft is no joke — and getting a bunch of spam calls is never fun. Rest assured that when you create a profile or apply for jobs on Marketplace, your data will never be compromised.