About Katherine Moore

Katherine Moore is the Web Content Manager for Protect Your Bubble. She lives in Atlanta with her two cats and White German Shepherd; her favorite gadget is her iPhone 4S.

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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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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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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The Top 10 Smartphones and Tablets For Christmas 2012

Which gadgets did you receive under the tree this year? The Protect Your Bubble team looks at the most coveted smartphones and tablets of the season.

Protect Your Bubble insures over 350,000 mobile devices in the US and the UK, so we spend a lot of time talking about the latest in smartphone and tablet innovation and taking a look at the latest devices to hit the market. 2012 was a huge year for new smartphone and tablet launches, so there were a lot of contenders looking to be the favorite gadget of the holiday season this year.

 

Out of all of the new releases, which devices were expected to take top spot on Christmas wishlists across the globe? We looked into things to bring you the top 10 smartphones and tablets for Christmas 2012.

 

The top 5 Smartphones for Christmas 2012 include:

 

  1. Apple iPhone 5 - iOS fanboys and new users alike will love the larger display, panoramic photos, and more on Apple iPhone 5.
  2. Samsung Galaxy SIII – Taking on the iPhone 5 in commercials, features, and more, the Galaxy SIII is a heavyweight in sales numbers this Christmas.
  3. Motorola Droid Razr Maxx – If you want a smartphone that can keep up with you, the Droid Razr Maxx has a battery life that keeps you on the go without needing to recharge.
  4. HTC Evo LTE 4G – With the latest in HTC Sense customization and Beats Audio™, the HTC EVO LTE 4G is the perfect smartphone for the music lover or free spirit in your life.
  5. Samsung Galaxy Note II – Can’t decide between a smartphone and a tablet? The Galaxy Note II is a “phablet” that gives you the best of both worlds.

Smartphones aren’t the only in-demand gadgets this season. These 5 tablets join them to round out our top 10:

 

  1. Apple New iPad (Also known as the iPad 4) – The new iPad brings you the same great Apple design and service with all new features, including iOS 6.
  2. Microsoft Surface – The catchy snap-in-place commercials may have already stolen your heart–So will this device.
  3. Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 – Providing your favorite Galaxy line features in a wider tablet screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 is perfect for your favorite Android fan.
  4. Kindle Fire HD – A fabulous tablet at a great price, the Kindle Fire is a favorite for bookworms.
  5. iPad Mini – Offering all the best from Apple in a more convenient package, the iPad Mini provides you with a tablet that you can fit in your pocket.

 

 

Which devices made it under your tree this year? What will be typing on in 2013? Tell us your holiday gadget picks and if they made our list.

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A Movember to Remember: How the Protect Your Bubble Team Did

If you saw our Movember post on our blog, or if you’ve been following us on Facebook or Twitter, you’re probably aware that the Protect Your Bubble team participated in Movember this year to support men’s health and to help in the fight against cancer. Although we got a bit of a late start, our team’s spirit and incredible abilities to grow facial hair helped get our team through to the very end.

Our team members worked diligently to grow out their beards and ‘staches. Here’s a bit of how their progress went:

Kyle, Product Manager for Gadget Insurance, Travel Insurance, and Rental Car Insurance with Protect Your Bubble

Kyle, Protect Your Bubble mobile gadget product manager, at the start of Movember

Clean shaven - November 1

Kyle, Rental Car Insurance Product Manager with Protect Your Bubble, sports his beard

Mid November: Sporting a beard

Kyle, Travel Insurance Product Manager with Protect Your Bubble, at the end of Movember

Looking like a mountain man for our team outing to AtlantaRocks

David, Product Manager for Gadget Insurance, Travel Insurance, and Rental Car Insurance with Protect Your Bubble

David, Director of Product Development, at the start of Movember

David started out with a tiny bit of stubble

David Anderson, Protect Your Bubble team member, grows his beard

Even with having to shave mid-month, David managed to get his beard growing

David Anderson of Protect Your Bubble with a beard

David finished out November with a full beard

Kyle and David showed the most change overall, but other members of the Protect Your Bubble team participated in our month of moustachery:

Ben, Partnership Development

Ben, Protect Your Bubble team member during Movember

Maseka, Director of IT and Software Development

Maseka, Director of IT and Software Development for Protect Your BubbleMarcel, Software Engineer

Marcel, Software Engineer with Protect Your Bubble

 At the end of November we celebrated in office to thank all of our Movember participants and to finish out the month with true mustache style.

Protect Your Bubble Team gets festive for Movember

Everyone had a 'stache to celebrate at the end of Movember

Thanks to everyone who donated to our Movember efforts and worked to encourage our team! Did you participate in Movember? Show us your mustaches and celebrate with us by tweeting or sharing your photo with us on Twitter and Facebook.

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