About David Anderson

David Anderson is the Director of Product for Protectyourbubble.com. With over 10 years of experience in specialty insurance, David is trying to change the specialty insurance industry with protection products for modern consumers that are affordable, practical, and easy to use. David attended Mississippi State University and holds an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry. David also enjoys spending time with his wife, 3 super cool kiddos, running, hiking, and any other sport that gets him outside.

10 Ways To Prevent Identity Theft While Traveling Abroad

travel-id-theft

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes and thieves are smart enough to use many advanced tactics to steal personal data and money by taking advantage of your carelessness while traveling abroad. As a traveler, you’re usually more focused on having fun, but it’s important that you know the different, unsuspecting ways that you can become a victim and how you can prevent it from happening to you.

 

Here are some simple but very helpful steps to follow on how to avoid becoming an ID theft victim while traveling abroad:

 

  • 1. Keep your personal data updated and secured in a protected cloud service such as Snap Secure.

snap secure

  • 2. Use credit cards and traveler’s checks and try to avoid using debit cards. Keep credit card numbers and traveler’s check numbers in a safe place.
  • 3. Never give out personal information on the phone.
  • 4. Keep track of bank and credit card statements. If you’re not receiving them on a monthly basis or you see charges that shouldn’t be there, contact them immediately and request prompt action.
  • 5. Do not put your wallet in your back pocket. Put your wallet in your front pocket or use a money pouch. If you must use a purse, carry it close to your body, holding the top closed and keep it on the front of your body.

pickpocket

  • 6. Use secure wireless networks. The free Wi-Fi networks at cafes, hotel lobbies, and other public places are notoriously unsecured because they do not have the data-encryption protections that closed networks have.
  • 7. Be smart and protect your phone with a home-screen-locking password. We often store a lot of data on our smartphones: text messages with personal information, emails, photos, and important travel information such as boarding passes and itineraries.

home screen lock

  • 8. Use cash more frequently. When traveling, always keep cash and cards on hand. Use credit cards at airports, major chains, and shops that clearly use secure payment systems. Again, avoid using your debit card if you can.
  • 9. While abroad, don’t use your passport as your primary identification. Lock up your passport in the hotel room safe and use a driver’s license or an international ID for places of admission.

Hotel-Safe

  • 10. Avoid being pickpocketed by being aware of your surroundings. Pickpocketers usually work in teams of 2′s or 3′s. One of them will bump into you or drop something in front of you or make a loud noise or do anything to cause a distraction. Once you have been distracted, the other pickpocketer will steal your valuables and walk away nonchalantly.

 

If somebody does manage to steal your identity, then you need to find out about it in the earliest stages possible so you can take immediate action before things get completely out of control. Keep in mind that there are many more preventive measures, these are just some of the most common and important tips you can apply to successfully prevent identity theft from happening to you.  To completely protect yourself from any ID theft mishaps, identity theft protection is always available.

 

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7 “Look Up” Tips for Smartphone Addicts

 

 

Gary Turk may not have know how far reaching his video would be when he wrote, performed, and directed it, but the message that he communicates is definitely resonating with those that remember life without a smartphone.  I have personally felt the same concern for my children who knew how to use a smartphone and tablet as early as 2 years old.

 

Growing up in the 80s, my parent’s had similar concerns about video games.  I could play Super Mario Brothers, Contra, Super Tecmo Bowl, and Street Fighter all day long.  At the same time, my buddies and I would disappear on our bicycles for hours at a time exploring the neighborhood, woods, or whatever felt adventurous to us at the time.  But smartphone addiction is different than a gaming addiction.  It is much harder to separate ourselves from a device that people expect us to have on us at all times.

 

Then it happens.  We get to a point where we actually fear being away from our phones.  We fear that we are missing something or that we may have to wait in line or in a waiting room with no way to tweet, email, or snapchat how bored we are waiting for something.  At Protect Your Bubble, we see it all the time as someone has their device lost, stolen, or damaged.  They will file a claim, and we will overnight a device to them.  But even in that short turnaround, there is a huge sense of urgency from our customers as they experience the mental anguish of being disconnected.

 

Gary Turk also did a great job of conveying the danger of our phones becoming our primary or only means of connecting with others.  Even to the point where young people have a harder time communicating with others in person or by phone.  Aside from communication proficiency, some of the funniest moments in my life were spent sharing a movie with friends, sitting around a campfire sharing stories (that no one had already seen on Facebook), or adventures that we went on in response to being a little bored.  Those deep connecting moments are the ones I remember.  I don’t remember any funny moments I’ve shared over social media.  Even 15 year later, being 1000s of miles apart, I can still call or go visit old friends, and we relive those moments, and it is literally like we never moved apart.  That’s a real connection and worth the effort of “Looking Up”.

 

Here are a few tips if you are trying to Look Up and connect better:

 

“Park It”

Your phone may need a break from you too!

Have a place in your home where you park your phone.  A place were it can charge and be away from you.  Give your phone some space.  Change the ringtones for important people in your life and only go check if it rings with those tones.  It will help you engage better in your home and to ignore the unimportant noises that grab our attention if the phone is always in your pocket.  I even have a buddy that keeps his work phone in the garage so that he doesn’t even hear it after hours.  It has a nice parking spot in the garage where it can rest for the next busy day.

 

“Look at the Phone, Pick up the Tab”

Taking your phone out for dinner?

If you are at dinner with friends, you can each put your smartphone on vibrate and leave them on the table facing up at the center of the table.  When someone calls, emails, etc, the phone will light up.  The goal of the game is to not get caught looking at the phone at all.  The first person to do it, or the person who looks the most, has to pick up the tab for dinner.  Make a big deal about it when you catch them sneaking a peak on the sly too.  If you are at home with the family, that person has to do the dishes before they get their phone back.

 

Engage People in Real Conversation

Many a great stories are told fireside

How good are you at engaging people?  More than tweet-sized texts and small talk about weather, sports, etc.  What are fun things do you like to know about people?  Instead of stalking them on Facebook, engage them in real life.  Put together a list of questions in your mind that you want to know about others.  My wife and I have a list of questions we ask our kids at the dinner table – like what animal or super hero would you be – and the responses are hysterical.

 

People love to talk and laugh about themselves – they just need a prompt.  It could be as simple as asking someone to tell you their story or how they got to where they are today.   Ask them dream level questions…what they love to do if they had all the time and money in the world to do it, what would their dream job look like, what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to them, what adventure would they like to go on, etc.   Learn what questions engage people and go looking for opportunities to use them.  People will be less likely to check their vibrating smartphones when you have them engaged in fun conversations.

 

Pay Attention & Be Polite

Get off your phone - come back 3 years!

The smartphone has become a refuge from talking to people in stores, on elevators, and in line, but prioritize being polite over getting 5 extra seconds of screentime.  If the message can be sent by your phone, it can probably wait for you to open the door for someone or to acknowledge the hostess at a restaurant.   Its usually not intentional, but staring at our phones can come off as rude and obnoxious to those that need us to be responsive in the coffee line.  Most of us would keep our eye up if we knew that others thought we were being rude or obnoxious.

 

DWT – Driving While Texting

Pay Attention!

If you have a tendency to check your phone at red lights or as you approach intersections, watch the sidewalks.  There are tons of bikers, runners, and others on the sidewalk or on the edge of the road whose lives depend on too many people looking at their cellphones while driving.  I run a lot, and the number of people looking down while driving is jaw dropping.  My friends and I have countless stories of close calls and many of them involve a cell phone.  According to Textinganddrivingsafety.com, 1 out of 4 wrecks involve cell phones and that you are 23 times more likely to have a wreck when looking at your smartphone’s screen.  Just keep in mind that not everyone is protected from you by their vehicle and pay attention when the phone lights up.

 

Explore Now, Tweet Later

Better than a retweet!

Go somewhere where the messages on your phone seem trivial.  Go hiking and listen to nature.  Go for a run or a walk in a peaceful or scenic place.  Go to a sporting event or a concert soak up the experience.  I’m terrible about seeing the sites when I travel for business, but hate sitting in my hotel room.  Going for a run in a new place has become my mainstay, and I’m amazed at how much of a city you can take in when running around it.  Even if you don’t run, just go explore.  You can take pictures, but tweet them later in the day.

 

 Turn off the Things that go Ding

"Ah, need to get this one..."

Your phone probably doesn’t need to make as much noise as it does.  Turn off the alerts and dings for non-critical apps or messages.  I laugh when the generic Apple SMS ding rings and 10 people pull their phones out.  If it doesn’t need your immediate attention, it doesn’t need to ding.  It is also great to customize dings and rings for the top people in your life so that you know when they are trying to reach you and when the rest of the world is pressing.  You’ll have better restraint to keep it in your purse or pocket if you have a better idea of who is contacting you.

 

And finally, as you walk down the street, sit at a restaurant, and talk to people, notice how hard it really is for us all to Look Up.  Laugh at how bad we are at it, and make mental notes about where you should look up in your life.  Good work Mr. Turk.  There may be someone out there that meets someone special because of your challenge to Look Up.  These devices are great and important, but the connections and the level of engagement we have with the world around us is much more important.

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Less Worry for Crazy Family Vacations – Free Travel Insurance for Kids!

 

Griswold's heading to Wallyworld

My grandmother was once asked if she wanted to go on a family vacation and 8 hour car trip with me and my 3 younger sisters.  Her response was, “I don’t want to drive to the end of the driveway with you crazy people!”  Family vacations can be crazy, but they are always worth the effort though… except when you are traveling to Wallyworld while they are closed for renovation.

 

There are always a lot more logistics to factor in when kids are involved on road trips, plane rides, hotels, and any other moving part of your travels.  Here are a few tips for traveling with your family:

 

Call for Hotel Hospitality – Let them know that you are traveling with your kids and see what they have to offer to make your stay easier.  Some hotels have cribs they can offer that will allow you to leave the pack-and-play behind.  They may even have certain rooms that have a little more space if they know that there are going to be several people sleeping in the room.  It never hurts to ask, and their goal is to make your stay great.

 

Packing Light – Airlines and car trunks don’t like a lot of bags.  If you have one big suitcase, use it for multiple family members, but keep it under 50 lbs to avoid additional fees.  If you are checking bags for a flight, let each person carry a backpack with one change of clothes and things to do on the trip.  Take an inexpensive and light umbrella stroller instead of the behemoth if you can.  Lastly, you never need as many clothes as you think, especially for little kids clothes.  If the place you are staying has a washer/dryer, plan to use it, and your packing will be much easier.

Save the Screen – My wife and I used to put the kids in the car and immediately turn on the DVD player.  The problem is that the kids lose interest after a little bit and the “Are we there yet’s” and “I’m hungry’s” crank up.  If your secret weapon is a game on an iPad or a DVD player in the car, see if you can start the trip with books and small toys to keep them happy and save the entertainment for the area of the trip you usually experience the primetime meltdowns.

 

Bottles Up & Down – If you are flying with a baby or a small child, give them something drink on the way up to 30,000 feet and on the way down to keep the pressure in their ears down as well.  For older kids, chewing gums does well too.  Also change that diaper quick – while you and your spouse like to play “Who’s gonna change it” with each other, your fellow passengers are not as used to that lovely aroma.

Yakkity Yakk –In the middle of the trip and somebody is getting sick?  If you are in the US, use your smartphone to find a good doctor nearby.  Apps like ZocDoc and BetterDoctor are great for seeing local doctors, their specialties, and their customer ratings.  If you have travel insurance and you are out of the country, call them first to see what guidance they can provide for your medical needs.

 

We understand that the trip with your family is a lot to plan and execute in order to create a lifetime of memories.  This week, Protect Your Bubble released a new Travel Insurance program that allows you to add up to 3 kids for free to your policy for every insured adult or parent on the policy.  That’s right…free!

 

So while you are planning how to get the whole family through security at the airport, you don’t have to worry as much about unforeseen doctor visits or trip mishaps for your kiddos during the trip.  Buy the travel insurance policy for you, and cover the kiddos too for free!

 

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Go For The Gold (Gold iPhone 5s that is…)

As we all anxiously await the arrival of the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, the internet is running rampant with leaked photos and rumors about the new iPhones.  One of my favorites is the prospect of the gold iPhone 5s.  My first thought was “would a gold version of the device would really get the masses back in line at every Apple store in the US?”  When you look at it from a global perspective, the gold iPhone could be significant driver of sales in cultures where gold holds a special cultural significance.  These also happen to be markets where the iPhone craves more marketshare.  In China, the color gold symbolizes both wealth and happiness.  In India, accumulating gold is more than a status symbol – it is more of a lifelong quest which has made India the world’s largest consumer of gold.  Maybe Apple is on to something simple but great again.

 

To celebrate the new gold iPhone 5s, here are 5 fun facts and 5 surprising items that are laden with gold:

 

Gold Fun Facts:

 

1. Gold is so rare that the world pours more steel in an hour that it has poured in gold since the beginning of recorded history. Coincidentally, there is also a rumor for an iPhone color that is gunmetal or steel for the industrially stylish as well.

 

2. “Welcome Stranger” discovered by John Deason and Richard Oates in Australia in 1869 is the largest gold nugget ever found.  It was 10 x 25 inches or the size of two basketballs.  It produced 2,248 ounces of pure gold which would be valued around $3.2 million today.  That could buy over 5,000 iPhone 5s!

 

3. The home of the iPhone is Apple’s headquarters is in Cupertino, CA.  Settlement of California was sparked by the California Gold Rush back in 1848 when John Marshall discovered flakes of gold on the ground in Sacramento, CA.  The NFL team, San Francisco 49ers, are named after the Gold Rush miners that flooded the area in 1949.

 

4. In Ancient Egypt, gold was considered “skin of the gods” and only the pharaohs could possess it.  Now it will be the skin of the iPhone and everyone can possess it.  Sorry King Tut…

 

5. Pure gold is so soft that it can be molded by hand.  Pretty sure the iPhone won’t have pure gold on the back, but we know that these devices are susceptible to damage when dropped.   Protect your device with Protect Your Bubble’s iPhone insurance.

 

5 Surprising Gold Items:

 

1. Shiny Kicks – $5,405 price tag – Created by artist Ken Courtney for his “Ju$t Another Rich Kid” exhibit.  They are a size 10 which might fit a high school basketball player.   Move over Dorothy, these golden slippers take you to the hoop, not Kansas.

 

 

 

2. Gold Toilet – $5M price tag – In every movie, I’ve ever seen thrones were made of gold,  but this throne is more of a tourist attraction at Hong Kong’s Hall of Gold.   So many jokes, so little time…but make sure you don’t drop your gold iPhone in the golden toilet.  It happens all the time, but that would probably be a first.

 

 

3. Golden Motorcycle – $1M+ price tag – The frame of this motorcycle is worth $1M alone and doesn’t scream gold.  It was designed that way by a Turkish millionaire.  It looks like something discovered in Pirates of the Caribbean.   These wheels may be certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s most expensive motorcycle.

 

 

4.  Golden Grillz – Unknown price tag – What list this week would be complete without a Miley Cyrus sighting?  From Flava Flav to Miley Cyrus, celebs are finding many ways to get gold in their mouth.  Billy Ray is reportedly giving Miley a gold grill that will keep her tongue in her mouth at all times after her VMA performance last week.

 

 

 

5. Gold Six Feet Under – $380,000 price tag + cellular network monthly plan – This shiny coffin is a luxurious final resting place for the rich wanting to copy the likes of King Tut, James Brown, and Michael Jackson, but let’s not ignore the golden smartphone that come with it.  It doesn’t appear to be an iPhone, but maybe we’ll see the gold iPhone 5s in the next edition.

 

 

We are excited about the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c and can’t wait to see what Apple has in store for us all.  Remember to protect your shiny new iPhone when you get it as the gold version is bound to be a popular target for thieves.  Check out our iPhone protection plans for your next device.

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Smartphone Addict’s Top 10 Mashup

I am a smartphone addict, a hashtag quipper, and a social media butterfly.
I love how my Samsung smartphone keeps me connected to my family, friends, work, and even my diet/exercise.  But I’m starting to realize just how addicted I am to my connector to the universe.

 

 

Recently on a family beach trip, my wife and I took a long walk on the beach.  I had my Samsung S4 in my pocket and my wife had her iPhone in hand during the walk, you know…just in case.  We began to notice something we’ve never seen before at the beach.  On a beautiful day with only a few waves, we were blown away by the number of people sitting in beach chairs staring endlessly at their smartphones.  No sharks anywhere to be seen and the water seemed to only be reserved for the smartphoneless.  Later that night, we had a big family gathering for beach pictures, and we laughed as we looked at everyone at the end of the photo shoot with heads all down as they feverishly uploaded pictures to Instagram as a beautiful sun sets in the background unnoticed.  We had a long conversation about what the next generation may miss flying right by them as we are all “heads down” to our smartphone.

 

Everyone remembers the classic YouTube video of the woman who fell in the fountain at the mall as she was wexting, walking and texting.   In an effort to make light of our growing ability to multi-task and flaunt our smartphone addictions everywhere, here is my top 10 mashup for smartphone multi-taskers:

 

10 Multi-tasks Common to Smartphone Addicts

 

  1. Platebooking  – Uploading pictures of your dinner so everyone can see how well you are eating.  Too bad its getting cold.  #ilikeitcold
  2. Candy Sitting* – Playing Candy Crush while babysitting.   The kiddos will scream if they need help, and we have got to get past level 36 without buying our way out. That app looks like a kid’s dream on my Samsung S4, but if you let them play while you are “babysitting”, they will get frustrated with its adult complexity and throw your device across the room. #babysittingchamp
  3. 4 Questions 1 Word – Actually the name of the app is 4 Pics 1 Word, but if you try talking to someone while they are playing it – you’ll ask them a question 4 times before they give you a 1 word answer.  #wordsmith
  4. FlipThrone – No need for a magazine rack in the bathroom anymore.   Don’t need details here, just a public service announcement to never borrow other people’s smartphones.  #cloroxwipe
  5. Stop and Smell the Posts – When we skip “soaking in” a special moment because we immediately feel the need to post it to Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Vine, YouTube, and Vimeo.  Post it later after the moment passes and relive it.  LinkedIn can always wait until first thing on Monday morning. #preciousposts
  6. Biogramming – Documenting your life through Instagram.  Just line up the pics and flip through them for a full-length movie.  You know who you are, and so does everybody else! #instragrammy
  7. LunchFlix – Ever seen someone during their lunch break with headphones and out of touch smartphone stare while picking at their food.  Netflix and Hulu are awesome, but chatting with your co-workers may be more impactful to your life than Lost or Downtown Abbey**. #lunchroomabbey
  8. MyFitnessCramp – Logging your fitness accomplishment immediately after finishing has replaced stretching so that you don’t forget that you ran 3 miles.  Post a video of the charley horse in the middle of the night before you stretch it out too.  You too can get 141K views of a painful moment. #grownmancry
  9. Blind Glassing – Scoping out your blind date pregame or in the moment to enhance the conversation.  Google Glass could take this to another level (Google Glass Blind Date).  It would be a super cool experiment to overhaul your profile to some crazy funny stuff about a week before a blind date and see if you catch them in the act. #itsnotstalking
  10. HashtagStorming – Pretty sure people are going to start quoting “hashtag” before verbal punchlines pretty soon.  They are awesome, but if you have spent more than 10 minutes thinking of one, that is 9 minutes and 50 seconds too long.  #2hrstowritethisblog***

 

But seriously, our smartphones are great, and that is why we are so addicted to them.  If you are a smartphone addict like I am, what would you do without your device for a week?  Develop a nervous twitch?  Would your friends call the police because you stopped posting?  How long would your rehab last before you could afford to buy a new smartphone at full price (usually $500 – $800)?

 

We are a little biased at Protectyourbubble.com, but we think that it is really important to buy smartphone insurance for your iPhone or smartphone if it connects you to so much of your life.  If you lose or damage your device, we’ll make sure your rehab stint is as short as possible.   Check us out.  #totallysharethis

 

 

*Candy Sitting sounded better than Baby Crushing

**Highly depends on your co-workers’ awesomeness balanced against the conversations you will miss out on with your friends because you are behind the times – except if you watching Lost. #LastSeasonStinks

*** #CantBelieveIReadThatWholeList

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