World Cup 2014 Update

Hey Futbol fans!  Have you enjoyed the World Cup so far?  It’s been an amazing ride to this point and there’s only a few games left.  Here’s a quick recap of the important events during the World Cup and a short preview of the upcoming games.

 

Oh, what had happened?

Landon Donovan

Without America’s most recognizable soccer star Landon Donovan, the naysayers were ready to write off the US.  But Clint Dempsey dazzled the world and my heart in the first round of the tournament, rising like a phoenix from the ashes and resurrecting US hopes and dreams.

clint dempsey phoenix

Luis Suarez of Uruguay sunk his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini of Italy because he mistook him as a calzone.  I can’t blame him, calzones are bomb.com.

luis suarez calzone

It burns like Hot Pockets!

The US team played horridly against Belgium in the round of 16.  Tim Howard had a sensational game with a record-setting 16 saves.  He played his heart like a true champion.

tim howard DOD

Neymar has been spectacular all World Cup and has lived up to the hype.  Unfortunately, he took a painful tiger knee shot to his back from Columbian player Juan Zuniga.  It’s disappointing his World Cup experience has been cut short, but I am sure we will see more from this promising young star in the future.

And then there were 4. 

The World Cup semi-finals begin tomorrow with Brazil playing Germany and then Netherlands playing Argentina on Wednesday.  Brazil has been playing great but with the absence of Neymar, I don’t think they will be able to triumph over Germany.  Argentina will steamroll Netherlands solely due to the fact that Lionel Messi is a beast.  Final Prediction: Argentina will beat Germany in the championship game 2-1 and Messi will be crowned the undeniable King of Futbol.

lionel messi king

Messi has more accolades than I have facial hair.

If you’re in Brazil right now catching all the action in person, pray that you don’t run into Luis Suarez and his fangs of fury.  It’s never too late to purchase travel insurance, which covers injuries abroad like human bites!

 


 

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Last Minute Travel Checklist

Travel Insurance

Traveling is exciting, but it can also be very hectic. There are all kinds of things that you need to remember. Some of them, if you forget them, are not the end of the world. Others, however, can ruin your whole trip! The more prepared you are, the less stressed out you will be on the day of your trip. It helps to be organized, so here’s a last minute travel checklist that you can refer to every time you travel. Here are the most important things you will definitely want to check off.

 

You Don’t Need To See My Identification

travel docs

  • Passport (if traveling overseas) – make sure that your passport isn’t expired. For certain countries, your passport must be valid for six months after the date you travel so verify this before you leave for your trip.
  • Visa – if required.
  • Flight Tickets – if you don’t have a physical ticket, confirm your E-ticket with the airline before you leave.
  • Accommodation Vouchers
  • Transfer Vouchers
  • Travel Insurance – consider whether you want to purchase travel insurance to protect yourself & family from unforeseen events.
  • Phone Numbers for Home
  • Health Documentation(s)
  • Emergency Information
  • Local Currency – if you’re traveling out of the country, be sure to have the local currency on hand.
  • Credit Card(s)
  • Driver’s License – do not leave this at home and make sure it is not expired. Be mindful of the driving laws of the place you plan to visit.
  • Make copies of all documentation keep one copy with you and leave a copy of your passport, credit cards, travel insurance with a friend or family member.

 

Dress Accordingly

fashionable beach bum

Before you pack your suitcase, do your research on the kind of weather you will be getting and pack accordingly. Always remember that the weather can change quickly, so pack for unexpected changes.

 

  • Underwear
  • Socks/Hosiery
  • Belts
  • Casual Day Wear
  • Sleepwear
  • Cold weather gear (jumper, coat, warm hat, gloves, scarf)
  • Warm weather gear (swimsuit, shorts, sandals
  • Comfortable walking shoes (must be worn in)
  • Sun Hat

 

So Fresh and So Clean Clean

travel toiletries

  • Comb and/or brush
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss etc
  • Deodorant
  • Soap
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Skin-care lotion
  • Razor & shaving cream
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Make Up
  • Vitamins
  • Bath / beach towel
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Aspirin
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Band-Aids
  • Upset stomach / Diarrhea medication
  • Regular medication, plus a letter from your doctor for anything unusual.

 

Okay, Just Get The Bare Essentials

travel essentials

  • Cell Phone
  • Laptop or tablet
  • Luggage (Check any weight restrictions)
  • Back pack
  • Wallet
  • Money belt
  • Ipod/MP3 Player
  • Camera & memory cards
  • Guide book and maps
  • Travel journal & pens
  • Games / playing cards
  • Small padlocks for suitcase
  • Luggage ID tags
  • Travel pillow
  • Zip lock plastic bags
  • Electrical converter / adapter if you have AC appliances
  • Earplugs / eyeshades

 

These are important things to remember when making your last minute travel checklist. Most likely you’ll come up with other things to include, depending on your specific plans.

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5 Ways to Deal with a Flight Delay or Cancellation

flight-delayed

Flight delays and cancellations occur more often than we like, and dealing with such scenarios is a stressful experience for most travelers. It’s much more stressful when unpredicted delays, disruptions, and cancellations occur because of many reasons like a passing thunderstorm, mechanical malfunctions, or a psychopath on the runway.

 

By knowing how to cope with delays and cancellations at the airport, you will be able to keep yourself busy and make the experience less stressful.

 

 

1. Check the Flight Departure Board

The flight departure board gives you a heads up on any possible problems. If you are seeing a number of flights delayed or cancelled that are ahead of yours on the same airline company, be proactive and speak to a representative of the airline to see if they anticipate any problems with your flight. They might be able to tell you that the hubs are very backed up. You can also call the 800 number of the airline. If your flight is delayed, try to find out how long of a delay is expected. This will help you assess how your travel plans will be affected.

2. Utilize Your Mobile Phonesmartphone

Time is of the essence. If your flight is cancelled, get in line as soon as possible for an alternative. While waiting in line, get on the phone and call the airline directly. Usually the airline representative at the call center can rebook you on a flight much faster than having to wait in line to speak to the gate or customer service agents. If you’re dealing with a delayed flight, call anyone who was planning to pick you up at your arrival airport to let them know your flight has been delayed. Also, be sure to load your phone with the airlines toll free phone numbers prior to your scheduled flight.

 

3. Ask What Your Options Are

It pays to have an outline of alternatives before you arrive to the airport. Most times you won’t need to take advantage of the alternatives, but with cancelled flights, the quicker you can act on those alternatives, you will be one step ahead of everybody else. If you do not want to have your flight re-booked, the airline can refund you the cost of your ticket.

trip alternatives

4. Stay Focused

Staying calm and being patient is one of the most important things you can do when there is a delay or cancellation with your flight. You should be mindful that especially in the winter there can be a number of things that can go wrong with flights. Play mind sharpening games in either real life or via mobile app.  Games like Sudoku, Chess, Tetris, and Bejeweled.

sudoku

5. Make Yourself Comfortable

When your flight is delayed, there is often little that you can do but wait. Think of the situation as an opportunity to catch up on some quiet time, remind yourself that getting stressed or panicking won’t change the reality of the situation. Try to take the delay in your stride. Listen to music, read a book, or get something to eat while you wait for your delayed flight.  Most importantly, the airport bar is always a good option to kill time while you knock back a few drinks.

airport bar

Whether it’s a flight delay or cancellation, it’s important to remember that you should be respectful without being concessionary. Be firm without being aggressive.  You always have the option to protect yourself from unplanned flight delay and cancellations with travel insurance protection. Happy travels this summer!

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5 Best American 4th of July Destinations

fireworks 4th of july

Nothing says Independence Day quite like a thundering and colorful pyrotechnics display. If you’re lucky enough to be in any of the best holiday destinations this 4th of July, you’ll have a front row seat to some of the nation’s most dazzling fireworks spectacles. Whether you plan on spending the holiday in the nation’s capital, a sunny beach, or even the Big Apple, you can soak up patriotic spirit while marveling at colorful explosions that light up the night sky. There’s plenty to do for people of all ages, activities such as historic tours, parades, and concerts are all available.

If you are planning to travel for the upcoming holiday and haven’t decided where you want to go, we’ve compiled the 5 best 4th of July destinations for you.

 

1. Las Vegas

If you are partygoer who wants to live it up, Las Vegas is the city to be in. In this city, partygoers can drink all day and night anywhere they please as public consumption of alcohol is legal on the Strip. The partying doesn’t stop in Las Vegas with the multitude of casinos and clubs available. The world’s largest observations wheel recently opened up.  The 550 ft High Roller gives an unrivaled view of the Strip and is stationed at the LINQ, a new outdoor shopping and entertainment district. While in Vegas, be sure to check out the virtual fireworks show on the Viva Vision canopy at the Fremont Street Experience, or even better, witness the real thing — times nine — as nine different Stations Casinos properties display fireworks simultaneously.

las vegas fireworks

2. New York

At some point in their life, every American must make their destined trip to New York. It is home to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the widely-watched New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in Times Square.  When traveling to the city for 4th of July, you can see a Mets game and fireworks in the evening. You and the family can enjoy the Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular display over the East River, where it was previously stationed on the Hudson River. New York City delivers one of the biggest 4th of July firework displays in the nation and will be lighting up the Brooklyn Bridge this special evening.  The event will be hosted by the hilarious Nick Cannon and feature entertainers such as Lionel Richer, Ariana Grande, Enrique Iglesias, and Miranda Lambert.

NYC Fireworks

3. New Orleans

Here’s another city where the party keeps going. A reveler seeking a nonstop party must consider New Orleans as a 4th of July destination. Similar to Las Vegas, people can publicly drink while walking on the streets.  More importantly, New Orleans is known for their delicious food and good vibes music in a fun atmosphere. If you and the family would like to visit the Aquarium of the Americans on the riverfront, the Audubon is offering $4 off on any single adult or child ticket. At night, the city celebrates the Fourth of July with a “Dueling Barges” fireworks show on the banks of the Mississippi River as 2 ships fire of a spectacular display of fireworks.

new-orleans-fireworks

4. Chicago

The 4th of July is a great time to plan a summer vacation in Chicago. The city is in full swing from the painful winter and summer is the time to take full advantage of the lakefront beaches. Navy Pier combines fireworks over Lake Michigan with a festival vibe: The waterfront Pier Park includes a musical carousel and—of course—warm, delicious food. Navy Pier also has world famous DJ AfroJack playing on July 5th for an outdoor concert so get your glowsticks ready!

fireworks-chicago

5. Washington DC

There’s perhaps no better place to celebrate the 4th of July than in our nation’s capital. The National Mall, with the U. S. Capitol and Washington Monument in the background, creates a stunning backdrop to the country’s 4th of July celebrations. This all-day event in the nation’s capital kicks off with a parade along Constitution Avenue from NW 7th to 17th Streets. During the day, you can enjoy readings of the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives, dance performances and cooking demonstrations at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and an evening concert by the National Symphony Orchestra on the West Lawn. The night ends with a spectacular display of fireworks over the Capitol Building and Washington Monument caps off an unforgettable day in history-rich D.C.

DC 4th of july

The 4th of July is a special day to Americans. This Independence Day promises to offer something for everyone. A visit to any of these top cities will result in a grand time for the whole family. With the high number of travelers expected this holiday summer, you can be proactive and protect yourself with travel insurance or rental car insurance.


 

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3 Things You Didn’t Know About Renter’s Insurance

new apartment

What is renter’s insurance really all about? Renter’s insurance is protection intended for anyone who rents an apartment, home, or other live-in arrangements. Many tenants tend to think their landlord’s insurance will cover the damages to their personal possessions, but it won’t. Your landlord’s insurance only covers the building you live in. Purchasing a policy protects you if your items end up in the hands of criminals and more importantly, if there’s a disaster like a fire that ravages your home.

 

Do you need more information on renter’s insurance before you decide on purchasing a policy? Here are 3 things you may not know about your homeowners or renters coverage.

 

1. Personal Liability

 

Renter’s insurance does not just cover your property. It can protect the tenant from personal liability if someone hurts themselves while in the property being rented or if someone else’s personal property is damaged while at the rental property. The liability coverage in a customer’s policy can protect them from being sued for medical bills and other costs.

injury on property

2. Alternate Living Expenses

 

Renter’s insurance can also cover alternate living expenses if there is an accident. Everyone knows that accidents can happen. A tornado could tear down your home or a fire could burn it down. In any of these scenarios, it is obvious that you cannot move back in the very next day. You have to wait for everything to be repaired. Because of this you will need to find somewhere else to stay. Renter’s insurance can cover a portion of your living expenses, most of the time, while you wait for the repairs to be finished. This type of policy is a safety net for these types of situations. fire insurance

3. Replacement of Important Items

 

It’s no fun if you lose a suitcase while traveling and is extremely frustrating.  Most airlines will only reimburse a customer up to a limited amount, which in most cases are far less than the lost items were worth.  Fortunately, renter’s insurance may cover the remaining cost of the lost items, which makes these policies all the more valuable to renters who frequently travel. What happens if your car is broken into and a large quantity of personal property is stolen? Most auto insurance policies have a limited coverage for property stolen in the vehicle, but your homeowner’s insurance can pick up the slack. In fact, your homeowner’s policy can cover your personal property anywhere in the world.

travel lost luggage

Renter’s insurance may seem unnecessary until you are subject to an unfortunate event. Only then you realize you should have it.  You’d be surprised to know that purchasing a policy is relatively inexpensive. The right renter’s insurance policy is a smart investment of your time and purchasing a good policy is a smart use of your money.  Renter’s insurance can vary widely, be sure to check out PYB’s Renter’s Insurance page to see the full coverage details of our protection plan.

 


 

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Amazon Fire Phone Revealed – Everything You Need To Know

Amazon revealed their first smartphone today at a live event in Seattle. The device is Amazon’s first venture into the highly competitive market dominated by Apple and Samsung. Here’s what we know about the Amazon Fire phone from their elaborate event today.

 

Availability

The Amazon Fire Phone features an HD display designed to respond to user’s eye movements and is capable of displaying 3D images. Because Amazon already has a strong partnership with AT&T, their smartphone will be initially an AT&T exclusive.  The price is set at $199.99 with a 2 year contract agreement.  Pre-orders are already being accepted and the ship date has been set for July 25th. It’s still unclear if or when Amazon will sell their first smartphone on other networks. With the success of Kindle Fire tablets, the new smartphone will continue to use the company’s Fire operating system, which is a highly customized version of Google Android.

 

Specs

Like many other high-end Android phones, the Amazon phone sports a 1280×720 pixel 4.7-inch IPS display, a 2.2 quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, an Adreno 330 graphics processor, 2GB of RAM,  and support for 4G LTE. The main rear camera is set to be 13Mp and the front-facing camera is 2.1Mp.  Battery life seems to be a priority with 285 hours of standby time, and up to 22 hours of talk time.

 

amazon fire specs
Camera

The Amazon Fire phone may look like other smartphones, but the latest news shows a front-facing camera placed at each corner of the screen. These will track your eyes to monitor exactly where you’re looking at, adjusting the image on-screen to provide the user with a “3D” experience without using special glasses. The upcoming handset will utilize a unique combination of cameras, sensors, and software to dramatically change the way users interact with a smartphone. The phone will also to be able to automatically zoom into images as it moves closer to the user’s face and can manipulate images and text as a person tilts the phone.  The rear-facing camera will be 13mp with a fast f/2 aperture lens.  Video taken with the camera will be in 1080p HD definition.

 

amazon fire camera

 

Audio

Amazon Fire uses Dolby Digital Plus creating a virtual surround sound experience.  Fire optimizes audio output depending on the media format whether it is watching a video or listening to music.  A big surprise is the inclusion of tangle-free ear buds.  That’s right folks, tangle-free ear buds!  We don’t know if this claim is 100% true, we’ll just have to wait to get our hands on it and see.  The ear buds have flat cables and magnetic buds that stick together.

 

 

Usability

Beyond 3D effects, Amazon’s new device will also enable an entirely new way for users to navigate apps and menus on the phone. The 3D screen includes a complete collection of gesture controls. By tilting the handset in different directions, without the user having to tap or touch anything, the smartphone’s interface will display additional information on the screen.

 

 

In the phone’s calendar and email apps where small icons are displayed with no labels, even a slight tilt of the device will reveal labels beneath each icon, informing the user of its function. If the user performs a tilt gesture after searching for a restaurant in the maps app, Yelp ratings will appear on top of the various results plotted on the map.

 

 

The new smartphone also includes a feature dubbed Firefly that allows its user to capture images of signs and real-life objects with text using the phone’s primary rear camera. The software automatically recognizes the text and converts it into a note using optical character recognition (OCR) and other technology. With the captured text, the software can translate text from a foreign language into English or read information on a business card and save it as a new contact entry.  With Firefly, you can basically identify real life items and search for it on Amazon.com seamlessly.  Firefly is so important; it has its own dedicated button on the phone!

 

 

Amazon definitely pulled out all the stops on their first phone. Let us know what you think of the Amazon Fire!

 


 

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5 Easy Summer Travel Tips

summer travel destination

With summer vacations starting and 4th of July around the corner, now is the time to venture out and enjoy the warmth and sunshine. Summer is regarded as the best season to go on vacation. It’s the best time you can spend traveling without having to worry about being in the midst of punishing weather. Vacations are supposed to be a fun and relaxing activity, not a disappointing and exhausting event. Whether you are traveling with your special someone, family, or your friends, you have to be well prepared. The best trips involve careful planning. Here are 5 summer travel tips to kick start your summer vacation plans.

 

1. Destination

What is your ideal vacation spot this summer? When deciding, consider your budget, the number of days of travel, and the number of people you will be traveling with. Collect a summer travel guide and decide your place of interest. Get familiar with the maps and tour books of that area.  The internet has a variety of resources – Fodor’s and Lonely Planet are good starting points.

Bay Beach

2. Accommodation & Prior Reservation

It is always a good idea to plan where you are staying well in advance. This will not only save you money but it also ensures that you get the hotel of your choice for your summer vacation. Booking in advance secures you with comfortable travel dates and often will allow you to be eligible for special offers. It would be an excellent idea to get customer reviews of the hotel and its locality.

accomodations

3. Documentation & Monies

Before you plan to travel anywhere within the country or abroad, it is absolutely necessary to collect all needed documents. Carry your travel documents like visa, identification papers, and passport if you are traveling outside the country. Do not forget to carry foreign currency, credit cards, and debit cards. It is very important that you have more than enough money for where you’re going. You don’t want to be stuck in unfamiliar territory because you are short on cash.

currencies

4. Basic Medicines

 Another absolute necessity when traveling for summer is to carry a portable first aid kit with the medicines associated with summer vacations – possible sore throats, diarrhea, summer boils, allergies, cuts, and scrapes. Pack medicines that are part of the family’s daily dose. If you have a history of any illness, carry the health related documents. Enlist your doctor’s number, the local doctor’s number, and the numbers of your emergency contacts.

going to bathroom

5. Shed Extra and Pack Smart

Avoid carrying unnecessary items and pack things that have multiple uses. Always consider the climatic condition of the place you are about to visit and pack your luggage accordingly. When traveling for the summer, it calls for careful preparation. Carry sun-glasses, an umbrella, lightweight cotton or linen clothes, and pleasing pastels. Avoid synthetics and go for sensible footwear like flip-flops or walking shoes. Don’t forget to protect your head by wearing hats, bonnets, or visors if you feel like re-living 1999.

n sync visor

You will surely have a blast on your summer vacation this year if you’re better prepared and organized. This does not mean that you have to give up on spontaneity. You can still do things that you may not have planned for but if you make a plan, it will be in a safe and responsible manner.  There’s always travel insurance and rental car insurance to protect you and your family in case of emergencies.

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5 Father’s Day Gifts for the Cool Dad

Michael KeatonIs your dad as cool as Michael Keaton?  If yes, then he’ll probably like these gift ideas.

 

Dads may be relatively easy to please, but that’s no reason to drop the ball on Father’s Day. A good father will wear that ugly tie until he retires, but he deserves more. We all love our dads, but we are never sure what a great gift would be for him. The best gift ideas for Father’s Day always take a father’s personality and style into account.

 

1. Tickets to the Game

Let’s be real – most dads are sports fans so this is an easy one. Get your dad good seats to the game or tournament of his choice, whether it be basketball, football, golf, or any other sport. To hit the ball outside of the park, buy him several tickets and allow him to invite friends and family. Heck, he might even bring you along!

father+son+baseball

After 35 neglected years, Larry King's stunt double took his son to a baseball game

2. Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity and Sleep Wristband

Help Dad stay in shape in the least activity-intense way possible! Fitbit Flex fits a small monitoring device inside one of two included silicone wristbands that tracks your activity including how many calories you burn during the day and your sleep patterns at night. With the assistance from a free companion app for your iPhone (or a separate Mac/PC app) that syncs with Fitbit’s website, it stores and visualizes the collected data, along with information you enter about your activities, food, water intake, and more. The best motivation Dad needs to get going is smaller than the average watch and looks cool too.

fitbit

Fitbit tells you how many calories you burned using chopsticks

3. GoPro HERO3 White Edition Camcorder

This is the company’s most advanced GoPro camera to date. You can mount the waterproof (up to 197 feet) camera on just about any piece of gear and capture video up to 1440p resolution. Additionally, it takes 12MP photos for ultra high resolution action shots! If your dad has an active lifestyle, a resilient HD camera is exactly what Dad will need to make a digital copy of his memories. This device will capture all of Dad’s exciting experiences, whether it is underwater swimming with sharks, climbing to the top of the Himalayas, or spelunking in a cave in search for guano.

guano go pro

If this dad had a GoPro, he wouldn't have to put his face in bat guano

4. Ryobi One Plus Ultimate Combo Kit

One of the best features about the Ryobi One+ 18-volt Lithium-ion Ultimate Combo Kit is the can’t-miss canvas bag, Dad will be able to spot it no matter how dark and cluttered the garage gets. When he needs power tools, they’re all right there – all 6 of them. The drill alone is compact and powerful enough to handle about any job on Dad’s project list.

ryobi family

This father built a treehouse using a Ryobi drill and his bare hands

5. A Driving Experience

Dads and cars are like Kool-Aid – a homogeneous mixture! Give your dad a Father’s Day gift he’ll never forget by booking a driving experience in a Porsche, Ferrari, or Lamborghini. Participants can really test the car’s limits on a closed race track. Hitting 200mph in an exotic car is like overdosing on testosterone and adrenaline. Furthermore, you could rent your dad’s dream car for a day and let him drive it to the office and gloat about it to his friends. This gift will make him feel like an alpha male like Vin Diesel in The Fast and Furious!

Vin-Diesel

Vin Diesel is so alpha, he once broke up a fight while holding a baby

Just remember that these are only a handful of ideas that you can opt for when choosing the perfect first Father’s Day gift. What you want to remember is that the gift you pick should be memorable and fun! To further make this experience worthwhile, give Dad the gift that keeps giving – an electronic device protection plan.

 


 

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Closecall Post Accident Phone Protection – Fast Phone Replacement

Broke your phone? No insurance? No problem!

 

Closecall Post Accident Phone Insurance - Phone Replacement

Introducing Protect Your Bubble’s latest protection plan – Closecall.  With Closecall, we’ll replace your damaged phone with a refurbished one and have it shipped to you overnight despite your lack of phone insurance or warranty.*  You will also have the option to insure your new phone with us moving forward to make sure you’re protected if you find yourself in this situation again.  It’s the closest thing to jumping in a time machine and traveling back in time to prevent your phone from getting damaged.  Closecall covers phone damages like cracked screens, water damage, drop damage, and more.  For the full details on this phone replacement plan, check out our Closecall Post Accident Cell Phone Insurance.

 

Happy man with cell phone

*Your replacement phone is a high-quality refurbished device and has undergone rigorous testing and quality assurance to ensure it will last. Replacement phone purchase requires eligible installment agreement and qualifying credit. Your monthly price covers your quality replacement phone as well as sales tax. You cannot cancel the monthly replacement phone fees. Call Preferred Warranty Services at 855-852-7383 for questions regarding the interest-free financing contract.

 

Overnight delivery applies to phones ordered before 2PM EST Monday-Thursday. Orders placed between 2PM EST Thursday and 2PM EST Friday will be delivered on the following Monday. Orders placed between 2PM EST Friday and midnight EST Sunday will be delivered on the following Tuesday.

 

 

In Florida, accidental damage and mechanical breakdown coverage are provided by an extended service contract through United Service Protection, Inc

 

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The Rising Cost of Identity Theft

id theft

It has become common to hear about identity theft practically every day. In the last decade, cases of identity theft have been all over the news. With such wide spread media coverage and new technologies that aid in id theft protection, you would think that this type of crime should be less prevalent. But the truth is, cases of identity theft are still on the rise.

 

Identity Theft Statistics

 

The latest statistics from Javelin Strategy & Research’s 2014 Identity Fraud Study reported that a new identity fraud victim was hit every two seconds in America in 2013, with the number of victims climbing to 13.1 million over the year. This is an uptick of more than 500,000 victims since 2012. Javelin’s report was conducted for the past 11 years and drew on responses from 5,634 consumers to identify the impacts of fraud nationwide.

 

Javelin-identity-theft-victims

While the number of victims increased year over year, the amount of defrauded money decreased by $3 billion to $18 billion compared to 2012. “In 2012, we had a big spike in new fraud with a high average fraud amount,” said Al Pascual of Javelin Strategy & Research, “but in 2013, that was pushed down with criminals shifting into existing card fraud.” He also gave credit to the progression in the financial industry, because of the improvements of detecting new instances of fraud there was a noticeable drop in compromised funds as criminals have had a harder time creating new fraudulent accounts.

 2014_Identity_fraud_research_javelin

Identity Theft Growing and Becoming More Costly to Victims

 

According to recent figures from the U.S. Department of Justice, credit card data theft skyrocketed and increased 50% from 2005 to 2010. An estimated 16.6 million people, representing 7 percent of all persons age 16 or older in the United States, experienced at least one incident of identity theft in 2012. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released an eye-opening report finding identity theft cost Americans $10 billion more last year than all other property crimes measured by the National Crime Victimization Survey. Losses for household motor vehicle theft, burglary, and property theft totaled $14 billion whereas identity theft cost Americans a staggering $24.7 billion in 2012.

 

identity-theft-BJS

The BJS’s also reports the most common way victims discovered the identity theft in 2012 was when a financial institution contacted them about suspicious activity on an account. About 2 out of 3 victims did not know how the offender obtained their information, and 9 out of 10 did not know anything about the identity of the offender. People whose names were used to open new accounts were more likely to experience financial hardship, emotional distress, and even problems with their relationships, than people whose existing accounts were manipulated.  In addition, Americans who were in households making $75,000 or more were more likely to experience identity theft than lower-income households.

 

 

Penalties for ID Theft Conviction

 

The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act has been in place for more than 7 years. This law passed in July 2006 increases existing penalties for the crime of identity theft, establishing “aggravated identity theft” as a criminal offense, defined as using stolen identity to commit a crime. This adds two to five years of prison time to the penalties depending if aid and assistance was given to terrorists or terrorism groups.

 

identity-theft-credit-card

In the last 10 years, transactions over the internet continued to be one of the top cases of identity theft. College students have become particularly vulnerable due to the use of unsecured wireless networks. ID theft isn’t limited to the internet however. A large number of cases come from people responding to fraudulent phone solicitations and mail fraud. Theft of personal information from company databases and POS devices have also lead to an increase in identity theft fraud, such as the ones from Target and Neiman Marcus.

 

The best option to shield yourself from identity theft is to use a specialized identity theft protection solution with comprehensive coverage and monitoring.

 


 

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