Cyber Crime - Identity Theft

Do you ever think about what you put in your supermarket trolley?


It is time to do the monthly grocery shop. As you drive to the shop you think about what a different space you are in under level one of this endless lockdown. Those other levels were grim. At the traffic light, you recall the conversation you had with your neighbour yesterday. ‘It has come down to you and me to make a difference’ you stated. Boldly. Afterwards, you felt a little guilty because you had not done anything – yet. As you look at yourself in the rearview mirror, you say to yourself: ‘Self, from here on out you are going to make better decisions about how you use your money.


But what does that mean for you?

I am glad you could have the conversation above with yourself! However, before you go into the shop, think about what you MEANT when you said that – what is your criteria for making ‘better choices’?

Disclaimer here – we know that many people’s choices are limited. This is particularly so at this time when going from shop to shop to cash in on specials may be what makes your money stretch to the end of the month and keep your stomach full. We salute you. Take what resonates and send positive vibes into the Universe for the rest. Also, your motivations may differ from mine. It will be connected to what is important to you.


Does it make a difference in the greater scheme of things?

You are indeed a tiny fish in a massive (and polluted) pond. Modern life is set up in such a way that at a structural level we are forced to engage in activities and use products that contribute to the problem.

You need to travel, right? You sometimes have to grab something from the shops to eat or drink when plans change, right? You don’t have storage space for 25 kg of rice, right? You need to upgrade your electronic devices from time to time, right? When you buy a new appliance you have no control over the polystyrene inserts in the box, right? The romantic notion of turning our backs on civilization as we know it, going completely off the grid and becoming self-sufficient is a dream for increasing numbers of disappointed city rats, but impossible for most of us. (And in reality, it isn’t as much fun as it sounds.)

Most scientists agree that small differences alone won’t be enough. It may make us feel rather smug and proud of ourselves. Our pride might stop us from thinking about The Big Things. How did we get to this point? What are the structural conditions that lead to the continual destruction of the planet? Which social dynamics force millions to face severe food insecurity whilst tons of good produce get dumped every day? How can unfair labour practices and dangerous work conditions still pass us by? What role do I play in keeping this in place? (GULP!)

MOTIVATION: The Environment


  • The carbon footprint of products
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Supporting local businesses and products could mean reduced transport distances
  • Consider the countries of origin and if products have been endorsed by conservation organisations
  • Buy loose vegetables and take your own containers or bags
  • Buying in bulk may be cheaper and reduce packaging
  • Cut up packaging, especially anything with rings, strings or sharp edges EVEN if it is going into the recycling – this protects birds and animals

MOTIVATION: Healthier alternatives

  • Organic foods
  • Whole food versus highly processed foods
  • Check the ingredients lists and any certifications (and educate yourself on what it means)
  • The fewer ingredients there are on the ingredients lists and the closer the product is to its natural state, the better 

MOTIVATION: The welfare of animals

  • Beauty anti-cruelty
  • Free-range, grass-fed, antibiotics free
  • Look for endorsements from certification bodies such as Beauty Without Cruelty, Leaping Bunny and PETA
  • Look up the differences between terms such as cruelty-free, dermatologically approved and dermatologically tested
  • Educate yourself on what the standards are that your favourite brands hold themselves to

MOTIVATION: Fairtrade and ethical business practices

  • Where things come from and how they are sourced
  • People and products
  • Check for Fair Trade™ certification that ensures that the products and the raw ingredients have been sourced from producers that have been fairly compensated for their labour and whose workers are protected
  • Consider the countries of origin, both in terms of where products come from – both in terms of the materials and the labour
  • Check for endorsement through the ‘Proudly South African’ logo that will ensure that the materials and labour are sourced locally
  • Inform yourself about the labour practices of countries where labour legislation or regulation is weak
  • Consider the fact that big international companies often make use of loopholes in tax and labour legislation in different countries to keep their costs down
  • Keep abreast of the track records of local companies when it comes to labour issues

MOTIVATION: Employment for locals

  • Supporting South African businesses
  • Supporting small businesses
  • Know why and who you are supporting. Some big South African businesses offer incentives and support to their staff to further their education, others provide discounted products to assist the staff with caring for their families.
  • Entrepreneurs often offer employment to others and grow the local economy ‘in your backyard’  

MOTIVATION: Support local charities

  • Second-hand stores
  • Donations to a cause
  • Don’t just buy, donate unused goods regularly (100% of the profit goes to the charity)
  • Support donation drives, make use of loyalty schemes that match contributions to charities and donate your loyalty points to charities, NGOs or community-based soup kitchens

Start. Just start, for goodness sake!

If we don’t do something, nothing will change. We must start somewhere. Maybe you could figure out a system that will make it possible for you to have cloth shopping bags with you at all times. (Okay, most of the time will do.) Next, buy free-range eggs and sustainably farmed milk. After that, check where the flip-flops were made.

As we get into the swing of thinking before we buy, the more we will become aware of the different facets of consumerism. The more curious we become, the more we can educate ourselves. The more we see that we can make small differences, the more motivated we will become to do more.

Sign the petitions. Read about various issues and ask Google to explain terms you do not understand (just check the sources!). Pass on information. Create new traditions about gift-buying in your family. Start recycling. Challenge your peers. Find out what the policies of the different political parties are.

The luxury and privilege of choice

A note of warning though – check your privilege. The Good Book says don’t judge. It is a sad fact that products that are better for the environment, healthier for our children, kinder on animals, and supportive of worker rights are often more expensive.

Stick to your lane. Do what you do because you can and do as much as you can of it! Show your gratitude for the privilege of choice. Instead of pointing fingers, make a point of supporting NGOs that work towards systemic change that will ensure that more people will have the choices you take for granted.

A famine broke out in Holland at the end of the Second World War. It was the coldest winter in decades. A German blockade cut off food and fuel shipments from farm towns. It is estimated that between 18 000 and 22 000 people died.

I am angry, as you will see in this blog post. Just as we are fighting a war against disease on the health care services front, so we are also fighting a humanitarian crisis like we have not seen in this country before. The crisis is corruption and greed. The result is people literally dying of hunger.

Have you ever felt so angry about bad service or a defective product that you would make a spitting cobra look like a gentle house pet? Have you ever felt trapped because you do not have the wherewithal to hire a flame-throwing lawyer that will burn (verbal and legal) holes in your enemy’s lame excuses and empty promises? Have you ever wished for a superhero to pin them down to extract the justice you feel you deserve?

Despite climate change, the likelihood that your house will burn down is thankfully quite low. However, there are few things that are as completely and utterly devastating. Statistics tells us that of those who do have household insurance one in three are under insured by about 30%.

Jack was feeling mighty pleased with himself. He had just bought himself a brand new SUV. He was ready to hit the road – with inter-provincial tourism being a possibility again, the Kruger National Park was calling. He only had to make one last stop for a few groceries. When he returned to his car the car guard pointedly avoided his gaze. In fact, he crossed the road. As he rounded the rear of the car to put his groceries in the boot, he dropped the eggs…

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Cyber Crime - Identity Theft
Cyber Crime - Identity Theft
Cyber Crime - Identity Theft
Cyber Crime - Identity Theft
Cyber Crime - Identity Theft
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