ID Theft In 2013: The 4 Ways Thieves Are Becoming You

Identity theft is not a new concept, but it is an ever evolving crime. In today’s modern world, we’re more likely to share our information with others, sometimes without even realizing it. We share our personal data on apps, social networks, at the store, and more, and thieves are taking notice.



While the upcoming movie, Identity Theft, provides a lot of laughs, having your identity stolen in real life won’t exactly inspire the giggles. We took a look at four popular ways thieves are stealing your information and your identity in 2013 and how you can help yourself avoid them:

 

Phishing

Phishing is a term that many of us have heard, but one that not everyone understands. Phishing is when someone tries to steal you information from you through a seemingly safe or familiar site or program. Have you ever received a Twitter DM along the lines of this one: “Someone was saying mean things about you…” with a shortened link? Scams such as this one, and many similar ones on Facebook, are phishing scams to get your information. Email phishing is another popular way for people to get your information. The Better Business Bureau helps consumers learn to identify and avoid phishing emails with their simple guide.

 

How to protect yourself:

  1. Avoid personal passwords. When passwords have personal significance, they can be easier to guess, especially if you base it on something you share on a social profile, like your pet’s name.
  2. Let your friends know about suspicious activity. If you receive an odd message from a friend, give them a call or contact them through another service to check in and verify the message.
  3. Don’t click. Often you’ll find that phishing communications feature a link. Don’t click the link. Instead, contact your bank, friend, or other entity contacting you to verify the communication.

Nosy Neighbors in Line

That person standing too close to you at the store check-out might not just have personal space issues…they could be stealing your information. Thieves now peer over shoulders and more to get personal information, like your PIN number, while at the store.

 

How to protect yourself:

  1. Use cash or credit when possible. While cash keeps you from entering in any information, you may not be comfortable carrying it with you. If that’s the case, use your credit card instead of your debit card to avoid putting in any personal information in front of your line neighbors.
  2. Request your personal space. Don’t be afraid to ask the person behind you to give you a little space. While you may feel a bit rude asking the question, 30 seconds of discomfort is easier to deal with than dealing with stolen information. Ask politely and in a friendly manner to help the situation be a little less awkward.
  3. Cover your digits. We’re not talking about gloves on your fingers, but instead about covering the digits on the PIN keypad. Turn the machine away from your neighbors or cover it with your hand as you enter your personal PIN.

Dumpster Diving

You may not think twice about throwing that credit card offer straight in the trash, but an identity thief may find it to be a golden opportunity. Thieves can fill out such offers that came to you with your information, then use the account for their own purposes. When you throw away personal documents as well, it’s a golden opportunity for a potential thief to dig through your trash, finding all of your personal information.

 

How to protect yourself:

  1. Invest in a shredder. Shredding your personal documents and mail can help prevent someone from stealing your information, or at least make it more of a painstaking process.
  2. Look into local disposal services. Some cities and towns offer monthly or weekly disposal options for personal documents, shredding or incinerating them for you.

 The Photocopying Phenoms

While this may sound like a horrible name for a sports team, photocopiers are a common bunch in today’s connected world. When handing over your information or card to a server at a restaurant or a clerk at a business, you put your personal information in their hands–They could take it straight to a photocopier or scanning app and steal your card information.

 

How to protect yourself:

  1. Pay in cash or credit. Again, these two methods of payment are safer than putting your debit card and bank account at risk.
  2. Keep an eye on your card. While at the counter, keep a close watch on your card. If your card never leaves your sight, it’s less likely to get swiped through a secondary machine or photocopied.

While these tips and tricks can help you protect yourself during your day to day, Identity Theft Protection is a layer of security that keeps on eye on your credit for you 24/7, just in case something does happen with your accounts. Protect Your Bubble will offer ID Theft Protection in March 2013–We’ll be bringing more information to you soon about how it can help you keep your identity secure.

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3 Experts Weigh In: How To Get Cheap Rental Car Insurance

cheap rental car insurance lineIf you’ve had a look at your personal auto insurance policy and realized that you need a little extra coverage while you drive a rental, the last thing you want to do is pay too much. While it’s extremely important to protect yourself from the financial mishap that can occur with a damaged or stolen rental car, you also need to make sure you aren’t spending hundreds of dollars on redundant or ineffective insurance. Here are 3 brief tips from respected financial gurus on how you can save your money, and your sanity, when shopping for cheap rental car insurance:

 

Dave Ramsey

One of the most respected financial advisors in the United States, Dave Ramsey suggests that you get a thorough breakdown of your existing auto insurance policy and then purchase only the bits you need to cover your car rental.

 

For example, most people have excellent liability and personal accident insurance through their existing policies, so there’s no need to shell out an extra $15 a day on bonus coverage through the rental car company. There are other places you can trim the fat as well, such as the personal effects coverage. While it’ll only cost you $2-5 a day extra, you don’t have a need to insure any of your belongings against theft if you aren’t carrying around anything ultra valuable. So leave your tablet in the hotel room and you can forgo this little add-on to your rental car policy.

 

Carolyn Gorman

Carolyn, the vice president of the Insurance Information Institute in New York, recommends that renters check with their credit card companies about rental insurance coverage. Many companies offer car rental insurance as a premium service to their customers if you charge the rental on your credit card, negating the need to purchase your own policy. Just make sure you understand their terms and limitations before picking up your rental car keys, so you don’t get blindsided by any charges down the line.

 

Suze Orman

All around financial expert Suze Orman recommends that you apply the same criteria to your rental car insurance that you do with your personal automobile policy. That means you insure yourself on things that are an absolute necessity, such as collision coverage, but you don’t automatically spring for the lowest deductible, highest premium policy. You’re getting that insurance coverage to protect yourself against your rented Honda getting destroyed in traffic, or getting stolen out of a Jack in the Box parking lot. Most rental car insurance policies don’t have deductibles, but if you do find yourself with that option, you can potentially save a few dollars by knocking down the daily cost of your rental premium, and just pay the deductible on the rare chance that serious misfortune strikes.

 

If your personal car is a used vehicle with a less than comprehensive insurance package, then you’ll definitely want to consider rental insurance, just so you don’t end up paying thousands of dollars in repairs on something that you were only renting for a couple of days. If you’re looking for affordable insurance to take away that worry, check out Protect Your Bubble’s rental car insurance rates and see how we can help you.

 

Photo credit: Photo Credit: Cote from Flickr

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Watch out, Samsung, Apple: BlackBerry comes back With BlackBerry 10

When is the last time a friend mentioned a BBM? BlackBerry, though a beloved phone for the business world, fell out of the spotlight in recent years as the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S series, and even Windows phones took over the smartphone market. Though they may have fallen out of center ring for a spell, BlackBerry is coming back with a vengeance as they introduce BlackBerry 10 next week.

 

In December, Protect Your Bubble took at the rumors swirling around BlackBerry 10 and the various launches involved in the new OS. Since that analysis, a lot more information has been leaked about upcoming BlackBerry devices and their features. Here are our top 3 predictions/expectations for the January 30 announcement:

 

1. The Blackberry Z10 and BlackBerry X10 will be the two devices announced at the event.

Okay, okay, so it’s not like these two devices were top secret. The BlackBerry 10 launch does not appear to target the same shroud of mystery as a Samsung or iPhone launch; images, specs, and more have been so widely leaked about the BlackBerry Z10 and X10 that these devices seem almost guaranteed.

 

2. The BlackBerry Z10 will be a middle ground between the S3 and the iPhone 5.

The rivalry between Apple fanboys and the apostles of Android is about as friendly as when a New York sports franchise faces off against a team from Boston. With the flagship devices of each enterprise constantly being compared, we can see why the suspected specs of the BlackBerry Z10 fall as a perfect compromise between the two.

 

 

With so many leaks about the Z10, including this video comparing the device to the iPhone 5, specs seem to be fairly well known. Size wise, the Z10 will feature a 4.2″ screen, right between the 4″ iPhone and 4.8″ S3. The Z10 will go on to pull the best from each lineage, featuring a removable SD card and battery like the Samsung smartphones and a voice-activated “personal assistant” like Apple’s Siri while also pulling in elements from other smartphone greats, as BlackBerry 10 OS is expected to function much like the Windows smartphone OS does now.

 

3. The “L-Series” will feature more than just the Z10 and X10.

While two new smartphones is already a big reveal for BlackBerry, RIM is still expected to release, or at least mention plans for, other devices in the L-Series at the January 30th event. We’re hoping to see a new tablet in the mix, as rumors of a device nicknamed “Blackforest” have been circulating the web and the new OS is based on a system designed for tablets. Some sources have gone as far as to say that the new line will feature a total of six new devices.

 

Do you think BlackBerry will be able to solidify itself again as a top dog in the handset market? Weigh in with your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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“Warranty on iPhone? Yes, please!” 3 Reasons You May Want to Consider Getting a Warranty for Your New iPhone5

If you’ve just outfitted yourself with Apple’s flagship device, the last thing you probably want to do is spend any additional money on it. But if you’re worried about the turbulence of life and how it may affect your new phone, you’ve undoubtedly realized how much you’ll have to shell out for a replacement in the worst-case scenario. Here are 3 quick reasons why you should get an additional warranty or insurance policy for your new gadget:

 

  1. If You Use Your Phone For Work, You’ll Want Backup Coverage
    Smartphones have become common in the workplace, and in 2013 they’re poised to become increasingly important for daily functions. If you need email, internet, blogging, and social media functions at your fingertips all day long for work purposes, then you don’t want to put yourself at an extreme disadvantage if your iPhone meets its maker prematurely. With the right coverage, you can get a replacement phone the next day, rather than visiting a retailer, wireless carrier, or Craigslist and spending $600 for a new one.
  2. Apple’s Traditional Warranty Only Covers The Things Least Likely To Go Wrong
    While it’s nice to know that any genuine hardware or manufacturing defects will be covered for an entire year after your purchase, there’s still a lot that can happen to you beloved iPhone that the basic warranty doesn’t even touch. Theft, loss, water damage, cracked screens, and dozens of other mishaps are waiting to inflict themselves on your new gadget. An additional warranty or insurance policy will protect you from the more serious threats out there.
  3. More Protection Will Give You The Peace Of Mind To Actually Use Your iPhone
    It’s inevitable that you’ll treat your device with kid gloves when you first get it. The iPhone 5 is an incredible marvel of modern technology: it’s sleek, futuristic, and combines the greatest technological advances of the last 2 decades into something that fits in your pocket. It’s just a great thing to have, and your first instinct will be to keep it as pristine as you possibly can. However, this motherly instinct may actually keep you from getting the most use out of your phone. It’s hard to treat it like the versatile tool it is if you’re constantly worried about scratching the screen or accidentally introducing it to a scalding mocha. Having a little extra coverage will let you relax a bit and start to test the limits of your phone.

 

For the cost of 2 mochas a month you can provide additional coverage to your device that protects you against the unforeseen accidents (like dropping those 2 mochas on your phone!).

 

Have we got you convinced yet? If so, take a look at everything that Protect Your Bubble’s iPhone insurance policy includes.

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Valentines Day Dog Treats for Your Favorite Canine

The Protect Your Bubble Team is filled with animal lovers, and we wanted to bring something extra special to BarkWorld Expo this past fall. In addition to great information on our pet insurance and pet health expenses, we also wanted to give pet parents something to enjoy when they got back home from conference with a special recipe for dog treats.

 

Baking for your pets

Baking for your pet is a cost effective, fun way to show them how much you care and homemade treats make great gifts year round for your pooch and their friends. While our “Pumpkin Squeaks” feature one of fall’s favorite foods, pumpkin, these delights can be shared year-round, including around Valentine’s Day.

 

How to make Valentine’s Day dog treats for your pet

To make Valentine’s Day treats for your dog, start out with making the “Pumpkin Squeaks” mixture:

 

Ingredients
2 cups rice or potato flour
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl until blended, then spread the dough to around 1/4 inch thick and cut it into desired cookie shapes. Use hearts, valentines, and other festive shapes to make these treats a Valentine’s Day themed present for your dog. Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes then let cool before serving.

 

Tell us about your dog treat baking experience!

Pans of dog treats from Protect Your Bubble Pet Insurance about to go into the oven

Lisa made her Pumpkin Squeaks in bone shapes for her dogs, Gina and Sanchez.

We’ve heard back from several conference attendees and other Protect Your Bubble friends who have made these treats, including Lisa from Through a Dog’s Ear (You can read about Lisa’s baking experience in her blog post).Have you made treats from the Pumpkin Squeaks recipe? If so, we’d love to hear how it went! Share your experience in a comment here, or share a photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #pumpkinsqueaks.

 

Photo courtesy of Through a Dogs Ear

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