Free Infographic: March Madness vs Smartphones

At Protect Your Bubble, did you know that 70% of our smartphone insurance claims are loss/stolen related?

 

Yes, smartphone safety and protection is a big issue.

 

In honor of 2 things we love – smartphone protection and March Madness – we have put together the following free infographic. To summarize the data for you that we obtained from a study we conducted last month:

  • March Madness vs. Smartphones: The Sweet 16 Cities That Aren’t So Sweet For Smartphone Owners
  • The Most Common Smartphone Danger (lost, stolen, damaged) = Damage
    • There is a 76.97% chance of damaging your phone in a Sweet 16 City
    • There is a 39.47% chance of losing your phone in a Sweet 16 City
    • There is a 23.68 % chance of having your phone stolen in a Sweet 16 City
  • Ranking of the 4 Sweet 16 Cities for Smartphone Danger (total of loss, theft and damage)
    1.        Arlington, TX (most dangerous for loss/theft/stolen) 81%
    2.        Los Angeles, CA 80%
    3.        Washington, DC 68%
    4.        Indianapolis, IN (least dangerous loss/theft/stolen) 54%
  • Most Common place to lose a phone: fell out of pocket 21%
  • Most Common way to damage a phone: dropped 74%
  • Most common place for a phone to be stolen: restaurant 14%

Enjoy, and please share!

 

P.S. If you’re interested in finding out how to protect your beloved smartphone from loss, theft or damage, check out our affordable and comprehensive gadget and smartphone insurance.

Source: Protectyourbubble.com

 

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Renting a Car for Spring Break? Our Top 5 Road Trip Tips

Spring is in the air and for some people, warmer weather usually means taking a road trip. Often, with a rental car to save the miles and wear and tear on your vehicle. Whether you’re road tripping it to the beach for some fun in the sun with your closest friends or taking a trip to visit family in another state, spring break is one of the most popular traveling times of the year.

 

While you are obsessing over what to pack and who is going to watch your pets, don’t forget to think about Spring Break safety.  Protect Your Bubble has taken some of the stress off your shoulders by supplying the top 5 Spring Break road trip rental car tips:

 

  1. Don’t just rely on your GPS.  A lot of times, smart phones aren’t so smart and they can drop service when you need them the most.  When taking a road trip this spring, back up all directions with handwritten notes instead of just assuming your GPS will help you the entire drive.
  2. Safety first. Don’t just pack your favorite outfits. Make sure you have essential safety equipment such as road flares, blankets, extra water, a jack and bolt removers, and a first aid kit. These items don’t take up much room but they sure can come in handy in emergencies.
  3. Be picky about your rental car. If you aren’t accustomed to driving a large vehicle, don’t rent one. The last thing you want is to have an accident because you are driving in a vehicle you aren’t comfortable driving.  Better to be safe than sorry.
  4.  Don’t get stuck. Roadside assistance programs can literally save you if your vehicle breaks down on the side of the road. Don’t hesitate to sign up for the roadside assistance program that best fits your needs and budget.
  5. Protect yourself. Rental car insurance should be a logical choice for any road tripper. Here at Protect Your Bubble, we are a rental car insurance brand that offers low costs at only $7.99 a day for damage and theft of vehicle insurance as well as primary collision coverage up to $35,000 with zero deductibles. For more information and to get a fast quote, visit our Protect Your Bubble’s rental car insurance page.

Safe travels this spring break!

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The Blackberry Z10 Makes Its Official US Debut

The Internet is abuzz today with news of the release of Blackberry Z10, the first smart phone under the Blackberry 10 OS. Much has been written about the phone-that-would-reignite-the-company so we decided not to join the fray just yet. Instead, we have summarized the latest Blackberry Z10 reviews for your Friday afternoon reading pleasure. Enjoy!

 

Mashable on the Blackberry Z10 features

  • Z10 has upgraded to BBM10 and you can now do video chats and screenshare. The latter feature is a bit fuzzy though.
  • Big on work-life balance? Use Blackberry Balance to partition Z10 for both work and personal use
  • The Z10 camera has a time shifting mode that allows you to turn the clock back a second or two on someone’s facial expression. What does it mean? There’s no excuse for you have pictures of someone with their eyes closed… unless you really wanted to have an image of their eyelids.

PCMag with the latest about carriers of the Z10

  • If you hate carrier branding, then you’ll love Z10. There’s no carrier logo in front; only a small Verizon, AT&T, or  T-Mobile logo can be found at the back of the device and it’s near the bottom. Carrier name does appear on the status bar when the phone is locked but disappears when you dismiss the lock.
  • The Verizon Z10 comes with a few apps, including Paper Camera, Angry Birds Star Wars, Bloomberg Mobile, and TuneIn Radio. But this could be an eager Verizon staff’s doing.
  • The Verizon Z10 excludes other LTE bands so you won’t be able to use the device on any other U.S. high-speed network.  But you can switch carriers by unlocking the device.

Huffington Post Blackberry Z10 Review

  • The touchscreen keyboard of the Z10 is “fast, accurate, responsive and very easy to get accustomed to.” The best ever for a smartphone. It also makes it easier to operate with one hand than the iPhone.
  • Several features were added to improve user productivity, including the Hub and the Sleep button.
  • The Z10 won’t be called beautiful… ever. OS looks “looks very flat and uninspired.” In the words of the reviewer, it is hideous.
  • Glitches encountered include apps crashing and losing connectivity. Nothing that can’t be addressed by an update to the firmware.

The Blackberry Z10 retails for $199 with a two-year contract. If you do decide to get the new Blackberry and want coverage for it, we’d love for you to consider mobile insurance with us at Protect Your Bubble.

 

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3 Personal Records To Protect During Tax Season

 

Tax season is a hectic time for most people. All of the forms, receipts, statements, and other documents necessary to file your return are passed around by employers, family members, accountants, and more. Unfortunately, this shuffling of personal information can also be a draw for more unfriendly eyes.

 

Instances of identity theft are at a yearly high around tax season, with thousands of opportunists taking advantage of the surplus of sensitive financial records being sent back and forth. While you prepare for another year of tax payments—or hopefully refunds—here are 3 important documents to always keep an eye on:

 

W-2 Forms

The W-2 is obviously important to everyone who earns an income in the United States—and therefore not likely to get tossed in the trash—but what you might not realize is how many electronic copies of this form exist on the web. Filing your taxes online, sending a scanned copy as an attachment to your accountant, or even discussing parts of your W-2 in an email to a family member are all ways you inadvertently make a digital copy of this document that may be vulnerable to a motivated criminal.

 

The combination of your name, legal address, Social Security number, employer, and other sensitive information makes your W-2 form a very attractive target for identity thieves, so while you carefully file your print copy in your home filing cabinet, make sure you know how many electronic versions have been created, and where they’ve been sent.

 

Receipts And Invoices Used For Tax Write-Offs

If you run a small business or work in a job where you have a lot of expenses, tax season is the time when you dig out a year’s worth of receipts and get them ready for a potential audit. This may include scanning and uploading them to a potentially unsafe online account, or even losing a folder or shoebox of them on your way to your accountant’s office. Most receipts won’t have enough personal info on them to be a genuine threat to you, but a few of them—such as receipts from a hotel or a charity—may have your name and address, which is a pretty sensitive combination these days.

 

Your full name and legal address gives a possible identity thief a baseline needed to begin sniffing around your presence on the Internet, such as your various social media accounts, business press releases, birth announcements, and other news article published online. This can give an attacker important personal information that is commonly used by banks and other financial accounts to verify your identity, such as your city of birth, mother’s maiden name, sports you played in high school, and much more. So remember to keep any receipt with your name and address on it under careful guard.

 

1099 Forms

The 1099 miscellaneous income form can come from a wide variety of people and institutions, some of which you may be unaware are sending you one in the first place. Independently contracted clients, banks in which you have a savings account that is earning interest, stock portfolios that pay yearly dividends, federal unemployment payouts, and dozens of other sources may be sending you a 1099 form this year, which has the same personal info as a W-2. If you’re someone who gets a lot of correspondence, it can be easy to accidentally throw one of these 1099s out with the junk mail, giving an enterprising thief a chance at a form that has all of your vital information listed on it.

 

With a little planning and attention, you can keep all of your important tax season records away from any prying eyes that mean to do you harm. If you’re interested in a more thorough option, you can always acquire protection against identity theft. As an Identity Theft Services provider, we at Protect Your Bubble can help protect you against all the possible mishaps that can result from your financial life falling into the wrong hands, giving you a powerful partner in keeping your identity secure. Reach out to us at 1-866-367-7579 if we can answer any questions for you.

 

Photo credit: niseag03 via Flickr.com

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3 Important Identity Theft Protection Takeaways from the Celebrity Hacking Scandal

You’ve probably seen the news recently regarding the celebrity hacking scandal. A ring of hackers attacked the private information of some high profile celebrities and politicians including Michelle Obama, Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. The fact that even wealthy famous people aren’t immune to identity theft has left Americans worried about their own safety.

 

While it doesn’t seem like these hackers are interested in attacking the regular Joe Schmoe’s out there, the fact that there are extremely smart and ruthless hackers out there is very scary.

 

The hackers didn’t actually hack anything. Using private information, the celebrity hackers were able to pretend to be the victims and then obtain a legitimate credit report from a free report site credit. The private social security numbers, credit reports, addresses and phone numbers of more than a handful of celebrities and politicians were then posted online for the whole world to see.

 

What does this mean for you?

In 2012, 12.6 million US adults were victims of identity theft. You aren’t immune. Whether you’re a celebrity or not, protecting your identity has become more and more essential in today’s technology-driven world. There are some essential ways to protect yourself and your private information. As an identity theft services provider, we’ve put together 3 important identity protection tips that you should follow:

 

1.  Become best friends with a shredder: Identity theft doesn’t happen solely online. There are still old school criminals that will go through your garbage to get your private information. If you don’t shred all sensitive documents, you are putting your identity at risk. Shred all documents containing private information including anything from utility bills to bank statements. Better safe than sorry!

 

2. Look for the “S”: When entering private information such as addresses, social security numbers and credit card numbers, only do so on sites that begin with “https” and not just “http”. The “S” means it’s a secure site and your information is protected.  

 

3. Get Identity Theft Protection-Identity theft service providers, such as us at Protect Your Bubble, offer affordable protection that empowers you to take control. You’ll get email notifications if someone uses your information to open a new account and Protect Your Bubble monitors all three credit bureaus to keep a close eye on what’s happening with your private information. If you are a victim of identity theft, you can trust in Protect Your Bubble to resolve the issues that arise including cancelling credit cards, helping you submit legal statements, and investigating bank fraud. The resolution services also extend to members of your household and go beyond simple credit monitoring.  For example: what would you do if open your mailbox one day and see an invoice for a medical procedure you do not recognize?  Protect Your Bubble will jump in and begin clearing things up for you immediately.

 

With identity theft protection, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s better to focus on preventing identity theft, rather than trying to deal with it once it happens. Following the above tips will help keep your private information safe and you’ll be less likely to deal with identity theft issues like the celebrity hacking victims are currently dealing with.

 

 

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5 Questions You Might Have About Rental Car Insurance

Whether you’re planning a trip for business or pleasure, odds are that you have some questions about rental car insurance. Here are 5 of the most common questions people have about insuring their temporary ride, and what you can do to make sure you’re protected from financial mishap.

 

1. Will My Personal Car Insurance Cover My Rental?

In most cases, your personal coverage will transfer over to your rental car. There are some exceptions to this however. For example, if your daily automobile isn’t 4 wheel drive but your rental is, your personal insurance may not cover you, leaving you to foot the bill for any repairs out of your own pocket.

2. Are There Any Other Insurance Options Than What The Rental Company Provides?

Yes, you don’t have to sign up for the most expensive package at the customer service desk of a rental lot—there are a number of rental car insurance providers that aren’t affiliated with the rental companies themselves.

 

3. My Credit Card Company Says They Pay For Rental Insurance. Do I Still Need Additional Coverage?

One of the perks of a great credit card is the protection they give you if you pay for the rental on your card. However, there are still some potential charges that you want to be aware of. If your rental car gets banged up and needs repairs, you’ll be charged for each day the vehicle is out of use until it finally returns to working status, and most credit cards leave this fee for you to handle alone.

 

4. How Much Rental Car Coverage Is Necessary?

If you’ve looked at your situation and decided that you need a little extra support (we’d love for you to consider our car rental coverage), you’re probably wondering what you can trim off the bill. The answer depends on several things: your personal auto insurance, how many days you’ll need the rental, how much driving you’ll be doing, how populated a city, etc.

 

5. Is Rental Car Insurance Required By Law?

Short answer: no. Although many rental agencies may get extremely creative in their phrasings concerning insurance, the law says that you need automobile insurance of any kind, not additional coverage for a designated rental. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically want to toss out the idea of rental insurance—especially if you don’t have the greatest coverage for your personal vehicle to begin with—but it means you’re not required to buy a supplemental policy.

If you think you need some extra protection for your car rental, do your research. Wecover you for a number of calamities that can happen on the road, letting you enjoy your vacation or get to work in peace. Happy travels!

 

Photo via AnoLobb at Flickr.

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Free Infographic: Identity Theft Statistics and Facts

The identity theft statistics are scary. While you could turn stick your head in the sand and cross your fingers that id theft and fraud don’t happen to you or your loved ones, it makes much better sense to empower yourself by being aware.

 

The Protect Your Bubble team has put together the following free infographic illustrating who is most at risk. Please share! If you’re interested in learning more, we invite you to check out our ID Theft Protection services. Now, on to the statistics.

 

Who is most at risk for ID Theft?

  1. Children – children are being targeted 35 times more often than adults.
  2. People with social media profiles – due to the personal information they put on their profiles.
  3. Smartphone Owners – 7% of smartphone owners were victims of ID fraud. This is 1/3 higher incident rate compared to the general public.
  4. Deceased people – Nearly 12 million people are affected by identity fraud each year and nearly 3 million of those identities are that of deceased people (yes, dead!). Seems like no one is safe from identity fraud.
  5. College students – More often college students have good, clean credit scores, making them an ideal target.
  6. Victims of data breaches – victims of data breaches are 9.5 times more likely to be a victim of id fraud.
  7. Higher income individuals – Those with higher incomes are more likely to be victimized: 7.7% for households with incomes of $150,000 or more.

 

Did you know?

  • In 2011, identity fraud increased by 13%.
  • The movie, Identity Thief, generated more than $36.5 million dollars opening weekend.
  • In the US more than 11.6 million adults became victims of identity theft.
  • 62% of smartphone owners do not use a password on their home screen
  • 32% of smartphone owners save log-in information on their device.
  • Compared to 2010 there was a 67% increase in data breaches. The three most common items exposed during a data breach are:
    • Credit card number
    • Debit card number
    • Social Security number

 

Here are some eye-opening identity theft statistics:

  • Every three seconds someone’s identity is stolen.
  • 4 x higher- Victims who found out about their identity theft more than six months after it happened incurred costs four times higher than the average
  • 165 hours—the average amount of time victims spent repairing the damage done by creation of new fraudulent accounts
  • 58 hours—the average amount of time victims spent repairing the damage done to existing accounts
  • 43%—the percentage of identity theft occurring from stolen wallets, check-books, credit cards, billing statements, or other physical documents

 

Identity Theft Statistics – An infographic by the team at Protect your bubble

 

Sources:

http://gpluspro.hubpages.com/hub/Identity-Theft-Statistics-2012

http://www.idt911blog.com/2012/05/9-alarming-statistics-about-identity-theft/

http://www.bloggernews.net/127903

http://www.bloggernews.net/127903

http://oag.ca.gov/idtheft

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The Top 5 Gadgets, Phones & Tablets Emerging from Mobile World Congress 2013

best 2013 smartphones and gadgets In June of 2007, Apple ushered in the era of the handheld computer with the release of the 1st generation iPhone. Since then, we’ve been inundated with a storm of smartphones and tablets, and that trend doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down in the slightest in 2013 and beyond.

 

This year’s Mobile World Congress featured a ton of new gadgets to share pocket space with your wallet—and help lighten its contents as well. Here are 5 noteworthy gadgets that will enter the battlefield of consumer electronics, with highlights that will help you determine which one will be the recipient of your hard-earned cash:

 

HTC One

First on the list is another smartphone model from HTC. While at first glance it may not distinguish itself from the horde of 5-inch smartphones already on the market, the One has a few tasty features up its sleeve, including:

 

  • A custom home screen named “BlinkFeed,” which features a constantly running news ticker in the background
  • The patented “Zoe” camera, which can record video and take photos simultaneously
  • A premium aluminum design that gives it a bit more flair than other similarly-priced phones
  • A nice, solid price point of $300 with a contract from wireless carriers, making it competitive in 2013

 

Sony Xperia Tablet Z

If you’re new to the tablet game, you may be left scratching your head a bit when trying to tell the various models apart. Sony’s Tablet Z definitely stands out from the pack, with such features as:

 

  • A thickness of just 6.9 mm, making it the thinnest and lightest 10.1 inch tablet currently on the market
  • A waterproof exterior, with a built-in infrared port for linking up and controlling your various gadgets and devices at home
  • Very competitive internals, featuring a quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage for the entry-level $499 model

 

Huawei Ascend P2

Another gladiator destined for the smartphone arena, the Ascend P2 has internal specs similar to its competitors, with external features to match. But the single bullet-pointed item for Huawei’s new entry is, on its own, enticing enough to rank it with the best of the new offerings—its custom LTE Cat 4 chip is capable of data speeds up to 150 Mbps.

 

To give you some perspective, remember that the dominant speed for computer modems as recent as the year 2000 was 56kps. That’s kilobytes per second. The Ascent P2 is capable of over 150,000k per second, which means that Huawei’s new smartphone can surf the web over 2,600 times faster than any home computer from the turn of the millennium.

 

There isn’t a wireless carrier that can offer those speeds at the moment, but there’s a lot of speculation that we may see it by the end of 2013. If that’s the case, the Ascend P2 will be ready.

 

HP Slate 7

Hewlett-Packard made waves a few years ago when they massively slashed the cost of their 1st generation TouchPad to $99, at a time when the next cheapest tablet was at least triple that. They’re back this year with a new budget-price model, which may be the perfect choice for someone looking to ease their way into the tablet world, with features like:

 

  • A crisp 7 inch screen, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, and a duel-core processor
  • An aluminum case and Beats Audio hardware
  • A very attractive $169 price tag

 

Asus PadFone Infinity

In an age of innovative technological hybrids, it’s surprising that the smartphone/tablet combo hasn’t caught on with consumers yet. The PadFone Infinity is Asus’ 3rd attempt to create the magic formula that will break into the mainstream market, but a possible $1,300 price tag means that only the most dedicated gadget connoisseurs will give this beauty a chance. But if you’re ready to take the plunge, you’ll get:

 

  • A 5-inch 1080p display on the smartphone, with a 10.1-inch 1080p display when you slide the phone into the tablet dock
  • A quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, a nice 64 GB of storage space, and a 13 megapixel camera
  • If the PadFone Infinity actually makes it onto any U.S. based wireless carriers, you’ll get the portability of a smartphone with the increased usability and comfort of a tablet, without having to double up on data plans each month with your provider

 

Only time will determine how many of these gadgets will find mainstream popularity. But it’s a certainty that 2013 will be an incredible year for smartphones and tablets, and if you’ve been waiting to stick your toes into the market, there will be more than enough opportunities to finally get you off the fence.

 

If you decide to take any of these devices home this year, you may find that you want some financial protection against many common mishaps that can befall these expensive toys. As a leading insurer of smartphones, tablets, and all of the other gadgets that fit in your pocket and brighten your world, we want to help you make sure your investment is protected. Check us out today for an affordable policy that will keep you from paying the full cost of a replacement if the worst case scenario happens.

 

Image courtesy of GSMA.com

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