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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Renting a Car in the US: Which Cities Pose the Most Danger to Rental Cars?

The holiday season is here and many of us are preparing for winter travel; while some of us will fly or even walk to our holiday destination, many will rent a car to get to Grandma’s for Christmas dinner or to a friend’s Hanukkah celebration.

 

While a rental car is a great way to get from point A to point B, it’s important to remember the risk factors of the season, namely winter weather in certain areas, the number of travelers on the road, and more. In a recent survey we found that your rental car is especially at risk in 5 densely populated U.S.cities; is your destination among them?

 

Protect Your Bubble - Rental Car Insurance Infographic Showing Most Dangerous Cities for Drivers

 

Our survey showed that New York City takes top honors when it comes to cities where your rental car is likely to be damaged.  The top five was rounded out by other large U.S.cities where Americans think they will most likely to damage or get into a car accident while in their rental car:

  1. New York City
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Boston
  4. Las Vegas
  5. San Francisco

 

 “Whether it’s for travel purposes during the holidays, or for a business trip, when you rent a car, it often means you will be driving an unfamiliar vehicle in an unfamiliar location,” said Stephen Ebbett, President of Protect Your Bubble. “Under these circumstances, especially for those people who are not used to driving around in big cities, even the safest drivers may find themselves at a higher risk for a car accident.”

 

Your rental car could be damaged anywhere, but when it comes to the holiday season, especially in a larger city, the chances are much higher. Here are just a few of the factors that make the holidays a more dangerous time for rental car damage:

  • Holidays often mean heavier-than-usual traffic as everyone hits the road to visit friends and family
  • While visiting friends and family in a new area, visitors are often stressed while driving from trying to find their way or navigate one-way streets.
  • Holiday drivers may have been driving long distances, which could result in fatigue or falling asleep at the wheel

 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are some of the most dangerous days for drivers.

 

Don’t let the facts scare you too much; even with the roads being a bit more hazardous this holiday season, you can have peace of mind while driving a rental. Protect Your Bubble gives drivers a new, cost-effective rental car insurance. At just $7.99 per day for coverage, you can save up to 75 percent by purchasing a policy directly from us rather than from the rental car counter (many of which charge around $35 per day.)

 

Already planning to rent a car? Get a quote today from us for car rental insurance.

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What are the most popular mobile devices for CEO’s?

The Merge of Company Leaders and Tech Enthusiasts

Technology and innovation have paved the way for business growth and communication, giving us the technologies that we need to make our daily lives in the workplace better. From emails to chat to web conferencing and telecommuting, our devices have made our day to days in the office more accessible, faster paced, and easier.

 

With technology changing the business-scape as a whole, how has the evolution of devices effected those at the top of the corporate food chain? CEO.com put together a handy infographic to find out:

How much do you and your CEO have in common when it comes to your favorite gadgets? While you may or may not use the same devices with the same frequency, everyone, from the top of the corporate ladder to the bottom, could use a little protection for their devices. Protect Your Bubble provides coverage for them all,  including insurance for tablets, coverage for smartphones, and even extended warranties for laptops.

 

 

Does your company have coverage for your work devices? Do you have insurance for your personal ones? What do you think about the tech-savvy nature of today’s CEO? Tell us your thoughts and experiences in a comment.

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Get 25% your Home Gadget Extended Warranty this holiday season

Thanksgiving is almost here, and Black Friday is right around the corner. While enjoying turkey day, you may realize that your refrigerator isn’t quite spacious enough for an abundant feast for the family, or that your TV doesn’t truly accommodate a picture larger enough to match your passion for your team. Black Friday offers amazing deals on cameras, laptops, TVs, appliances, and more, helping you to replace such items at a lower cost.

oven, stove, refrigerator, washer, and dryer

Is a new washer, dryer, oven, or fridge on your wish list? Get it during a fantastic sale and then protect it with an extended warranty.

As you take advantage of midnight deals, doorbusters, and online stampedes for limited quantity items, don’t forget about protecting your new purchases. Protect Your Bubble offers extended warranty coverage for your beloved appliances and electronics, from your big screen LCD to your brand new washer and dryer.

Photobucket

As a holiday bonus and to help you save even more cash on Black Friday and throughout the holiday shopping season, we’re helping you save on your extended warranty. Get a free quote on an extended warranty for your new appliance on our website; as you go through the quote process, enter “holiday25″ to take an additional 25% off of your policy.

Happy holidays everyone!

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A Movember to Remember

The moustache may have become an icon of hipster culture in the US, but that doesn’t mean that this classic feat of facial hair is anything but timeless. The mustache has the power to make a clean shaven man look manlier, to keep your upper lip warm in sub zero temperatures, and even to help fight cancer. Welcome to Movember, everyone.

 

mustache

Are you participating in Movember? Mustache image via Movember

Movember is an international celebration of the ‘mo, or moustache, and all things manly, including the fight against male cancer. Each year during the month of November men cast off their razors and let their facial fuzz grow, while their “mo sistas”, as the Movember website has entitled the women who participate in Movember, encourage them on towards bearded glory and money raising awesomeness. Donations raised by the bold and the bearded go towards combating prostate cancer and testicular cancer; throughout the month participants are also encouraged to have their annual physicals, helping to catch health risks early as well as increasing male health awareness.

 

This year is a Movember to remember around the Protect Your Bubble office as it’s the first year we’ve had an organized team fighting cancer and the will to shave as one. We’re halfway through the month, and still going strong as the gentlemen of the crew grow out their beards or a mo while we ladies cheer them on. To help support our team, just visit the Protect Your Bubble team page.

 

At the end of our venture, we’ll show the world what progress we’ve made with week to week photos of participants, but for now we want to see YOUR mo (or beard, or goatee, or what have you). If you’re participating in Movember, share a picture of your facial hair progress with us on Facebook or on Twitter.

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Get your holiday shopping done with the help of 5 smartphone apps

Are you ready to do your holiday shopping? If you don’t have an arsenal of apps at your smartphone’s disposal, we’re afraid you may be behind already.

 

As apps have become our personal assistants on a daily basis, keeping track of our finances, addresses, and more, they’re also now Santa’s little helpers, helping you track your shopping lists, prices, and find items fast.

iPhone with apps screen

Your smartphone is now the perfect shopping buddy for this coming holiday season. Photo via Flickr.

If you’re ready to get your holiday shopping done early, or if you’re just preparing to venture out on Black Friday to get the best deals, here are a few apps that can you help through the battle of retail:

 

  1. Coupon Sherpa
    Extreme Couponers, back away from the scissors. Coupon Sherpa brings together all of the coupons you love, from retail to groceries and more. Retailers can scan the codes directly from your smartphone, saving you from hours of clipping them yourself.
  2. Decide.com
    Finding the perfect gift is great, but it can reduce some shoppers into a blind panic. “Should I buy now? What if it goes on sale?!” Decide focuses on electronics (aka your big holiday purchases) including smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, and more. The app shares consumer reviews, let’s you know when the best time to buy is, and even features a price guarantee.
  3. Cardstar
    Don’t be that person digging through your purse for your club card or trying three phone numbers at the register trying to remember the one to which your store discount card is linked. Cardstar puts all of your member and discount cards into one so that you never have to fumble with a giant key-chain again.
  4. Fab
    If Pinterest and Etsy had a lovechild, it would be fabulous…or just Fab. Fab just launched their holiday shops, despite dealing with the Frankenstorm out of their New York office. Reward that hard work and dedication by checking out their mobile app during your holiday shopping for great deals and great items with great design in mind.
  5. Groupon and Living Social
    Okay, so this technically makes 6 apps, but I think we can all agree to let it slide. While Groupon and Living Social aren’t exactly secret, don’t forget these treasures as you jump into online shopping. While other apps are focused just on holiday shopping, Groupon and Living Social can help you save on gift items as well as the other things you need during the holidays, like food and a massage to relax post-Black Friday shopping.

Will you be doing your holiday shopping online this year or at the mall? Are you Black Friday shopper or a last minute maven? Share your shopping strategy and style with us in a comment.

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