Friday, 3 July 2009

Watch out those of you with Bank Accounts

Fraudsters are everywhere.
Their method of stealing you hard earned money or hard begged overdraft?
Debit Orders! Dodgy Debit Orders.... that unless you are vigilant and on the ball will cost you without you having any say in the matter.
This morning I got a text message from my bank saying a few hundred bucks had been paid from my checking account. (Gotta Love FNB's inContact free text service) I didn't recall making a purchase of that amount in the last few days so I went online to check what was up with my account.
Lo and Behold a Magtape Debit with a reference number I had no idea about. So I called the call centre - once again, very glad i am an FNB customer, their call centre is fantastic, efficient and available round the clock.
I find out that it is a debit order and they give me the contact number of the institution that took the money, as it happens it is Standard Bank. Now I hate that institution but that is an entirely different story with I won't bore you with now but suffice it to say that i ahve tried using them as my bank not once, not twice but three times and each time ended up closing my account in disgust. At one point I even considered not ever doing business with anyone who banks with them. So with this history I immediately get suspicious as at the moment, coincidentally, I am not doing business with anyone who banks with them so a debit order through them would be very strange.
I call their number and fortunately get through to a helpful person who given me the details of who the money has been sent to. A company called ComIT technologies with a Durban telephone number.
I phone them and hear a message saying they are only open after 8:30 so I leave a message (polite and clear with my phone number asking them to contact me and telling them I fear there has been some mistake). After 8:30 I phone again. Again the message telling me their business hours. By now I had googled them and visited their website and found out they are an internet service provider, since we use WebAfrica (also fantastic, just like FNB by the way, 24 hour call centre help desk and functionality) I knew this must either be a mistake or somehow I was being taken for a ride. I looked carefully at the website.
For an ISP they have the most amateurish website I have seen in a long time, and what's more the only email address to contact is a mweb address. Not alarm bells are really going off, so when I get the silly answering machine again I say "It's after 8:30, what is going on. Please contact me, (give my number again) if I don't hear from you by 10am I will be going to report a fraud."
I try a few more times and each time no answer or the answering machine and then all of a sudden my calls get cut off after one ring, like someone is screening my number and rejecting calls.
Now I am really suspicious. The lady at my branch has cancelled the payment and the money is back in my account but I am told I have to go to a branch to fill in a stop payment form so that future debits don't go off my account. What a pain in the neck, I see my nice organised work day go down the drain.
I go to the bank and they put the stop, extending it for the next six months instead of the usual 3 (once again, thank you FNB) but that is as far as they can go. I have to take the matter further myself.
I ask the lady what recourse I have if it happens again and she says the only recouse i have is what I have done today. So then I ask, how can one prevent things like this from happening and money being siphoned off your accounts? Her answer? The best thing to do is keep a close look-out on activity on your accounts and read your statements thouroughly.
I think this is crazy.
Basically what it boils down to is that anyone can take money out of your bank account if they have your details and there is very little you can do to stop it.
Perhaps it is safer to put your money under your mattress after all.
I have decided to open a case of fraud against the coumany that took my money and then wasn't bothered to talk to me and I have told everyone I know about this... I will be posting more as I find out more.
Watch this space.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Hunting High and Low - another journal entry from my profile

We are by nature hunters.... we seek things we need, then try to catch hold of them and hold on to them, perhaps kill them or collect them for display.
We are seekers, searchers.
There is no end to the lengths we will go to get what it is that we think we need.
But sometimes it is better, fitter, more sane to let go and leave.
Knowing this can make things easier or drive us insane with suffering because of the fact that our "dreams are depending" on something we know will never be.

Sometimes it is so hard knowing that the one you love will never know what it means to love them, and there is no way, no matter how high or low I hunt for me to show or catch something to use to explain it.

I'll keep "tearing myself to pieces" like hunters crawling through thorn bush to get closer to their prey.

But I can't hunt for a kill or a trophy because what I hunt for cannot be owned or killed or displayed as a trophy. I hunt without weapons; the closest I can get to capture the object of my quest is a picture. Like the wildlife photographers who capture their prey in images of beauty and wildness. Beauty can be fierce and blinding, cold and unforgiving. But it can never be owned.

I hunt for myself now.

"For you I'll be hunting high and low"
"There's no end to the lengths I'll go to"

I have gone to great lengths before for love, or what I thought was "love".
Now I know that Love is not something I can do anything for.... it just is. I can go to lengths if I want, but they'll be lengths i go to for myself, as nothing I can do could influence Love's path or pure purpose.... it isn't something I could ever catch, hold, or control.

The greatest length I'm working towards going to now is learning to let go.

(2 December 2006, Hunting High and Low)

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Badge Song

Your honour is a badge you wear
pushed into your skin

Don't pin this one on me.
I don't want it.
I haven't the space on my chest for more scars.
I have holes in my heart where I have plucked out stars
to symbolise your eyes
howls have hurt my hearing
hums remain day
day out

I tear myself up like pages between pressed closed covers
or blankets
strewn onto dusty floors
dusty from the dirt of a thousand boots
and skin and hair shed
to keep me from you

Tear yourself apart and bleed
I'll catch the drops,
collect the beads
of blood- tears
and sweat from your face,
off your hair
pooling in the small of your back as you kneel and reel
and drive your hard round wheels over me.

I know my feelings
won't change your mind
about what you believe

So I'll crawl under covers and ground I once tread
Hide for centuaries
catch motes
dig moats
and leave, my love 

And with time the badge you pinned to yourself
might grow over
You might find the way.
You might find me
and wake me.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

More than just lullabies

I am the type of person who finds meaning in so many things. One of my greatest joys in life is song lyrics. I truely believe that while a tune may be very beautiful, the real essence of a song is the lyrics. "It's all about the lyrics" is the name of a facebook group I belong to, and its name pretty much sums up how I feel about this issue.
To that end I struggle with music where I can not hear the lyrics. Most of my favourite vocal music is by artists who enunciate well when they sing.
I have a few really favourite songs and they too are really all about the lyrics.
I am sharing them with my baby girl because they are fun to sing, seem to calm or entertain her, and most of all have a good message in the song.
Of the three I sing to her most at the monent, my favourite is "Smile" The lyrics written after Charlie Chaplin wrote the tune and capturing the essence of the sort of feeling of his "little Tramp" character.

Here are the lyrics:

Smile though your heart is aching,
Smile even though it's breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky
You'll get by,

If you smile
through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You'll see the sun come shin-ing through for you

Light up your face with gladness,
Hide ev-'ry trace of sadness,
Al-though a tear may be ever so near,

That's the time,
You must keep on trying.
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worth-while,

If you just smile...

Words to live by in my opinion.
I sing it to Evangeline whenever she gets in a state and needs to be calmed down. I sing it for myself as much as for her as at times I find this motherhood thing inordinately difficult and draining and I need to remember that I need to smile a little more.
I remember once hearing that song at the end of a movie about the life of Charlie Chaplin and crying for hours. I was probably only 16 or 17 at the time but it really touched me deeply.

Other songs I share with Evangeline regularly are "Swinging on a Star" and "Sing, Sing a Song".
Both are great for getting her in a good mood or distracting her when she needs to sit sill while I do something like put her boots on or brush her hair. Both have fantastic lyrics with good messages which I hope will sink in to her and help her on her journey through life.