Be Cautious About Giving Info to Census Workers

(by Susan Johnson)

With the South African Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country. Eventually, more than 140,000 Census workers will count every person in the South Africa and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data.

The big question is – how do you tell the difference between a Census worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:

  • If a Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.
  • Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your identity number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the Census.
  • REMEMBER, NO MATTER WHAT THEY ASK, YOU REALLY ONLY NEED TO TELL THEM HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE AT YOUR ADDRESS.
  • While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, YOU DON’T HAVE TO ANSWER ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION.
  • The Census Bureau will not ask for bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit donations. Any one asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau. AND REMEMBER, THE CENSUS BUREAU HAS DECIDED NOT TO WORK WITH ACORN ON GATHERING THIS INFORMATION. No Acorn worker should approach you saying he/she is with the Census Bureau.
  • Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census.
  • Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the Census Bureau.
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The Sounds of the Soccer World Cup

Our Office Vuvuzela-ingThis world cup will especially be remembered for the cacophony of sounds coming, not only from screaming fans, but from our national traditional weapon, the vuvuzela. Now fight as you might if it is good on the ears or not, it is the defining sound of the Soccer World Cup 2010. Not only is the Vuvu a trending topic on Twitter, it is THE  MUST HAVE accessory for everybody that is anybody from Sandton to Soweto, from Liverpool to Australia. So if you do not have one- you are definitely not soccerturally correct. Get with it bro! Viva.

What the vuvu-objectors actually are upset about, is that they either don’t have one or don’t know how to blow. Really. The good news is that there are still plenty available at your closest street corner along with a flag and, if you are really rich or an overseas visitor with dollars, you can also acquire a makarapa to adorn you soccer attire. I must confess, doing the vuvuzela thing comes with a slight down side. You might be hearing impaired for the rest of your life, and your cheeks will be in spasm for months to come, not to mention the blisters on your lip, but what the heck- it’s our time. Its time for Africa. Viva Bafana Viva!

Which brings me to the Waka Waka. I can cope with the Waka Waka as opposed to the diski dance. Who thought that one out? Eeash. My  body wants to waka waka- I do not want to slip a diski. So if you follow Shakira’s pelvic moves- it is a complete easy-kapeasie breeze. So to get you in the mood. Here it is. (Also note, I taught the blackhead singer from Freshlyground who sings with Shakira, Kyla, Maths in highschool. That is why she is famous today. See how important maths is?)

Then there is my absolute favourite which is the flag song. I get a tear in my eye and feel if we could really change the world. Viva.

So give me the sounds of Africa, let your vuvuzelas buzz ever so loudly! Move those hips! Put on your glasses  and your Makarapas, paint your flag on your face and let’s buzzz Bafana Bafana on to viva viva and ayoba on and into the net. Bring on the sounds and spirit of Africa!!! Viva! And sommer another Ayoba as well.

Some resources to keep you going…

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8 things woman should avoid during the world cup 2010

This is a very important instruction guide to survival for the next month….

  • Do not change the channel  to Generations – he is watching Soccer!
  • Don’t ask about  Beckham  (he is not there) and no-one cares.
  • Support the same team as him……..please  its for your own safety.
  • Avoid moving in front of the screen ……..right now he feels he is in the stadium and as a supporter he might throw missiles at you.
  • Don’t tell him  “it’s just a game”………to him it is bigger than  your  50th marriage anniversary put  together.
  • Focus on the issue at hand (soccer match)…..other minor things (paying bills, how your day was, the kids, and groceries) can be discussed in July……. (after the final).
  • In case of a loss…………….avoid eye contact and deviate your conversation to other things (not soccer)……as it may affect his temper.

Golden last rule

  • Never……. Ever…… touch the remote……..you might work up in hospital.

Happy world cup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Thanx Nompilo for sending me this one)

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SARS scam warning

A new phishing scam is doing the round and even though I cannot believe that people can still be gullable to this kind of thing, I am putting it here as a warning.

Emails received by taxpayer from an address refund@sars.gov.za with the subject line Tax Refund should immediately be regarded as a scam and IGNORED by taxpayers. Taxpayers must NOT provide their banking details as requested in the email.

This is what the e-mail looks like

It will take you to a page that looks quite authentic. Please  do not fall for this! Delete the e-mail!

Fake SARS page

A way to tell if a page is fake is to look at the address bar. Quite clearly this site has got nothing to do with SARS and it is not a secure page as it does not say https

Fake address

Don’t get caught, ever!

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This made me cry!

Story behind this slideshow….
I got this from my good friend Sandra as a 1 MB slideshow attached to her forwarded e-mail. The e-mail has been forwarded (from what I can see) at least twice. She shared it just with me as she propably knew that it would make me cry (I am very cry-ie @ the mo…).

As I am busy preparing for a workshop with AIDS workers to share with them how Web 2.0 tools can be used for advocacy, I couldn’t help but make a connection between the Powerpoint slideshow and what the best way is to get the word out there! I wanted to pass this slideshow on, but decided against it a it will have a COST implication for my friends (and for me)by uploading (passing the e-mail forward)/downloading the whole 1MB show! I then decided to upload it to Slideshare.net from where I can just send my friends the link/invite them to come and look at the show, or embed it here in my blog. Luckily I first checked if someone has not already uploaded the slideshow…and of course…it was there already! And I was also presented with a whole lot of other slideshows on the disaster, some of which have been viewed 5511 times! Now this is getting the word out.

So lesson learnt (between all the tears)

  • If you receive (hear about) an inspiring slideshow, chances are that it will already be on Slideshare.net. Search for it there
  • Blog about it…now you have not only passively consumed the massage, but are actively adding your voice to the Cause = Advocacy
  • Pass the message forward…but this time only paste the link into the message, thereby saving yourself and your friends valuable bandwidth and cost, while still getting the message OUT THERE.

Okay, I will stop crying (whining) now….

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New highways and tollgates!!!

If you travel on the freeways, your life is about to be disrupted until 2010 as Road Agency has just awarded over R11,0 bn worth of road contracts to provide various improvements to all highways and interchanges in this area.

Six major road contracts are all to be constructed simultaneously. More contracts are planned. Most highways will now became 8 lanes, 4 in each direction. New bridges and flyovers are to be built at many of the interchanges to allow you to exit and enter quicker.

I have attached a small presentation of some of the changes at interchanges.

Electronic tolling will be installed approximately every 10 kms on all highways. The system is still under design but most likely you will need to buy a pre-paid tag. The tag is displayed on your front windscreen and is read as your car passes under the overhead gantry. If you do not own a tag, your plates will be photographed and at end of the month you will receive an account for all the times you have used the highways. If you do not pay they will treat it as an unpaid speeding fine. Private companies will be employed to monitor this and laws are currently being revised so that you do not necessarily need to go to court to be penalized (i.e. a speeding fine will shortly not be a criminal act).

Tolling will start at end of 2010 and I am told the rate will be 50c per km.

The big plus is the real attempt to reduce congestion.

[got this from Kalie via e-mail]

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Help needed

How often do we drive past squatter camps and wonder how people can cope living like that. Makes me count my blessings!

I received this in my e-mail today with a whole load of photos. It really seems as if they can do with some practical help. Why not clear out that store room where years of “valuable” junk have been gathering. This little desperate community might just put our old junk to good use…

“Vir die wat nie bewus is daarvan nie hiermee besonderhede van die blanke plakkerskamp by die Krugersdorpdam. Ek was Saterdag weer daar en word elke keer opnuut bewus van die aaklige omstandighede van hierdie mense. As jy enigsins kan help kontak my groot asseblief … ONS MOET HIERDIE MENSE HELP.

Tans is daar 83 gesinne en omtrent 60 kinders betrokke. Ons wag vir gesinne lys vanaf Hugo die persoon wat die park/kamp ordelik te probeer bestuur, en sy skoonpa (een op ‘n tyd die hoofkok op die bloutrein van transnet) is verantwoordelik vir die sopkombuis. Hugo se vrou Irene sorg dat die ablusieblokke skoonbly,sien om na die siekes. Die algehele omstandighede daar is benard en bly die mense in haglike omstandighede. Daar het intussen nog drie gesinne ingekom.. Chris, Riekie en Marietjie (4) het in hul motor gebly totdat vriende ‘n tent verskaf het Saterdag… ons het ook komberse gegee en kussings, maar hulle benodig alles waarmee mens huis moet hou… hulle het niks, niks, niks. So ook Jan (52 + large) en Santi (43 + 38) het ook niks, niks niks. (hulle bly tans in die stoorkamertjie maar moet plek maak sodat kos en klere gestoor kanword. Geen kos word uitgedeel aan die mense nie, en dit word gehou vir die sopkombuis. As daar ekstra brood, groente en vrugte is word dit wel uitgedeel.

Ons het dringend die volgende artikels nodig. Hierdie mense is baie en meer as bereid om baie van die werk sal te doen. Hulle oorleef wonderbaarlik onder hierdie haglike omstandighede….

Die ablusie blokke het slegs 2 baddens, 2 storte en 3 toilette in, vir die mans en dames afsonderlik., met slegs sementvloer. En hierdie 230 mense moet dit elke dag gebruik.

Die brood nodigste om mee te begin:- (Ja die lys is baie lank, want daar is niks., niks niks.)

1. Beligting. Ligte om buite op te sit vir die nag as iemand toilet toe moet gaan asook veiligheid.. Hulle benodig 10 florecent ligte 4vt, 5vt en 6 vt.

2. Een van die groot geyser het gebars – kan heel gemaak word, maar dalkies het iemand ‘n ander geyser om te skenk.

3. 16 Brazing Rods. Hugo reken hy sal die geyser kanregmaak..

4. Plasiese tafels en stoele.

5. as iemand weet van afdak om voor die sopkombuis op te sit.

6. skoonmaakmiddels. Die badkamers is groot gesondheisrisiko..

7. enige baba badmiddels, medisyne, poeier,weggooidoeke ens. (babas is 1 maand 3mde, 4mde, 1half jaar, een dame gaan oor ‘n maand baba he, baie kleuters en laerskoolkinders…..

8. Kinderklere.

9. Elektriese draad en trip skakelaars. (vir nuwe bedrading.)

10. Gas bottels. en stofies. Hulle ondervind oneindig baie kragonderbrekenings…

11. Enige medikasie, hoesgoed en pleisters, Savlon, rome. Daar is nie geld vir hospitaal as iemand seerkry nie… en met die 60 kinders daar is dit groot probleem. Iemand het noodhulpkissie voorsien.. maar ons het nodig om dit gedurig op te vul.

12. Babakos en melk. Purity No 1 (melk) Ryspap (nestle No 1.) NANNo 1.

13. Sambrele vir skaduwee.

14. Enige kos, blikkies, sop, pasta, groente en vrugte ens vir die sopkombuis. dit word daar toegesluit en word beheer deur die kok Simon. Tans kry die inwonders net elke tweede dag kos.

15. teels en teelsement…. as ons die badkomers kanteel sal dit ook meer higenies wees. Tans is dit ‘n masiewe probleem.

16. Energie besparings gloeilampies.

17. Swartsakke vir gemors en skoonmaak van terrein.

18. Enige ou tuingereedskap, grasmasjiene en kantsnywers… Die munisipaliteit maak nie die terrein skoon nie.

19. Tente of enige seile om tente waterdig te maak.

20. Ou karavane.

21. Zozo hutte.

22. Enige beskutting waar kleuters gehuisves kan word om te speel en in te kleur. (Ren het rol draad om dit te omhein) Sonja van St Mary’s kinderhuis het ook klimraam vir die kleintjies geskenk)

23. Enige speelgoed vir die kinders. (daar is omtrent 60. ek wag vir ‘n lys met name en ouderdomme vanaf Hugo.

24. Enige hout, spykers en skroewe. (daar is 3 skrynwerkers wat nie werk het nie en hulle kanhutte of beskuttings hiermee bou.)

25. Sinkplate.

26. Enige staal (Hugo het sweismasjien om tafels en beskuttings mee te maak.)

27. Ou hout pallets om in skuilings te sit om te dien as ‘n vloer… die grond bly nat en koud).

28. komberse en kussings.

29. enige wol en breipenne (meeste van die dames kanbrei, en sal vir die kinders en oumense bedsokkies kanbrei.)

30. Naaldwerkmasjien en gare ( baie dames kanklere maak, en sal help met die heelmaak van klere wat stukkend is.)

31. sement. ( in die lapa en die vloer voor die kombuisie. huidiglik net grond en modder)

Hugo het ‘n bakkie en is bereid om enige skenkings te gaan afhaal indien die skenker nie kannie.

Hugo benodig ‘n borg. die kinders se skoolfonds is groot probleem. Die eerste R350.00 van elke kind moet betaal word en is vir boekgelde. Die res word afgeskryf. Die ouers het bloot net nie die R350.00 nie. Daar is enkeles wat wel werk maar dit word gebruik vir oorlewing.

Ek hoop regtig dat ons so ‘n klein bietjie die nood van verlig…ons sal dit nooit nooit heeltemal kan verander nie. Die kinders en oumense is die grootste prioriteit.

Dankie vir jou tyd..ek waardeer dit opreg. Maar gepraat van waardeer moet jy daardie gesigte sien as ons goedere soontoe neem. Die kinders het saterdag elkeen ‘;n groot pakkie smarties gekry, en dit was XMAS.

Kontak Petra Swiegers
Tel: 011 794 9819
Fax: 011 794 3885
Cell: 083 267 7707
petren@iafrica.com <

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Eskom Predictions

Your Stars Foretell : By S. Com (The Future Made Clear – dark, but clear-eish) 
 
Aries (Mar 21 – Apr 21) : Things will be pretty dark for you today, unless you remember to buy new torch batteries.

 
 
Taurus (Apr 21 – May 21) : You’ll probably eat cold, raw food again today.  Try to remember to get that gas cylinder filled!  Be cheerful, though, and remember that your ancestors lived like this and survived – 25,000 years ago.
 
Gemini (May 21 – Jun 22) : There will be a programme on TV tonight that you’ll love.  Bu mmer that you can’t watch it ’cause it’s on during your allotted “block” in the Eskom disco derby…
 
Cancer (Jun 22 – Jul 23) : Thought you were smart buying that generator?  But we know you’re going to run out of fuel tonight and the nearest working petrol station is 20km away.  As you get there, we’ll cut their power… Sorry.
 
Leo (Jul 23 – Aug 24) : Another morning without that essential cup of coffee awaits you…  If you make it to 10am we’ll reward you with enough power to make some, but by then you’ll probably have killed 3 people and severely injured a 4th.  (Don’t worry, though.  This is the New SA – you’ll probably get away with it.)
 
Virgo (Aug 24- Sep 23) : Not for very much longer…  What else is there to do after dark? 

 
 
Libra (Sep 23 – Oct 23) : Your star-sign stands for fairness and justice.  That’s why we’re going to hit your area with three 2hr outages a day, while the area where your local MP stays will enjoy uninterrupted power throughout.
 
Scorpio (Oct 23 – Nov 23) : Your area’s assigned outage “block” is from 10:00 to 12:30.  Expect the power to go off any time before or after that.  And don’t think it will only be out for two-and-a-half hours, either.
 
Sagittarius (Nov 23- Dec 22) : Today you’ll buy some food that is apparently within its sell-by date.  What you won’t realize is that the sell-by date is for food that has been stored in a constantly operating fridge….  Although you’ll get severe food poisoning, we think you may survive if you can find an emergency ward that has back-up generators.  Good luck!
 
Capricorn (Dec 22 – Jan 21) : Don’t bother to go to work today.  During the hours when you actually will have electricity, your network provider will not, so you won’t be able to do anything anyway.  Stay home and well…. there’s not much to do there either, is there? 
 
Aquarius (Jan 21 – Feb 20) : Today you’ll get so fed up with our incompetence that you’ll decide to emigrate.  We regret to inform you that this is no longer possible…  The airports have all shut down, because – well think about it!  They need electricity to run the place!!  You ain’t
going – nowhere… 
 
Pisces (Feb 20 – Mar 21) : Today all your hopes and dreams will come true.  You’ll have power during “Days of Our Lives”.
 
 

If today is your birthday : Use lots and lots of candles on that cake – even if they don’t reflect your age.  How else are you going to see to open the presents? You will receive the ideal gift – your very own miner’s helmet!! 

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