Five easy steps travel nurses can take to safeguard personal information

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as nine million Americans fall victim to identity theft each year. Identity thieves use your name, social security number, credit cards and other important financial account information to commit fraud and other crimes at the expense of your good reputation and credit. Don’t let this happen to you!

1. Safeguard your driver’s license, credit and debit cards
Always keep these items secure. Don’t leave them unattended in a restaurant, car, or with tourism and hospitality personnel when you’re out having fun. There are many safe, secure, waterproof wallets and satchels available to protect these items while travel nurses are having fun in the outdoors. It is possible that cards can be scanned externally; if it helps your peace of mind, purchase card sleeves that can block such scanning devices.

2. Don’t ever give out personal information to people you don’t know
Not through the mail, not over the Internet and not over the phone. Don’t take special offers for granted and only use your social security number for personal matters such as employment, education and financial and tax purposes. Should someone request your personal information, always ask them why they need it and if they sell it to third parties – and always make sure you have a way to contact them. When in doubt, never give personal information out!

3. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your PC and laptop while on the Internet
Always keep your personal computer offline when not at home and your email accounts password protected. Traveling nurses should avoid using obvious passwords such as the last four digits of a SS number, a birth date or other easy-to-obtain password possibilities.

4. Keep your personal information in a secure location and keep your schedule to yourself
It’s best to secure personal documents and identification when leaving them behind for the day. While social media makes it easy to do, there’s no need to keep others up-to-date on your daily travel nurse schedule or activities unless absolutely necessary.

5. Never leave important documents or identification behind when you move. Shred everything you don’t need
Traveling nurses should complete a thorough walk through of their apartment before moving to ensure that no personal information is left behind. Paper shredders come cheap and portable and are the most efficient way to destroy bills and other documents which contain personal information before throwing them in the garbage.

Make your traveling nurse experience the safest it can be by following these five easy steps. For more detailed information on identity theft, visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Website.