I’ve been on the internet since the mid-90s. I remember when there were providers like AOL, Compuserv and Prodigy. It took 5 minutes just to log on (Dial number – type password – wait for beep – tolerate the screeching and boops and bleeps) to the internet. And since I was an AOL user, “you’ve got mail!”
Those days were so exciting and cool. The country – world – was connected for the first time ever. And it only cost $6.95 plus how many hours you used. Yeah, remember those days. The internet was like a 1-900 number. You could log on but you were smart with your time. You checked email. You maybe went into a chat room to talk to girls (or boys). You checked a bulletin board or a posting forum. And we used egg timers and log off. Like early cellphones, you used them but only for really important things. We weren’t so consumed by them. Well, until AOL did this: they offered “unlimited” internet for only $19.95!! At the incredible fast speed of 28.8 kbps!
Websites were very simple. The more photos and sparkles the longer it took to download. Internet video was nearly unavailable. I remember spending 3 hours in 1998 to down load the 2 minute The Phantom Menance trailer. And that was at a tiny QuickTime movie that was only about 3×4 inches on my screen. We are completely spoiled today because I can down load an entire movie in 1080p high definition in less than 2 minutes – 3 minutes if the internet is slow!
Things would come through your email that made you smile. Correspondence from old friends. Sometimes, you could talk your grandmother into using the computer at the library to send you an email instead of the old handwritten letters. For the first time, you could get on mailing lists from fan clubs, your favorite websites and stores – like Toys R Us and Kenner toys. (I was really into Star Wars in the 90s). And then there was the: “Congratulations you won Somalia lottery!” It would read: “hello sir, You won our Somalia lottery. i have been instructed to reach to you to get some important information.” Then, they would want your SSN, a bank account number – you know to send the money to – and your mothers maiden name and date of birth. Seems legit, right? Even back then I would ask myself how did I enter a lottery in a country I have never been? Or a country I didn’t even know where it is? So, I never fell for it. But I know many did. I always felt sorry for those gullible folks.
It’s been over 20 years since those days. That’s a lot of time to learn the scams and the tricks. I’ve seen some strange stuff out there. I’m pretty sure that some of the girls I talked to in chat rooms (when I was still a very young man) were really just hairy dudes in their basement trying mess with me or they were just sick and demented. So, why is it in 2019, I’m still getting emails that try and convince me I’ve won some lottery? Or had some money willed to me by some dying king and queen? Or that a trunk was found at the airport loaded with cash and gold? Really? Why don’t this people just keep the gold themselves? Do these scams still work? I mean I didn’t fall of the internet truck yesterday…..
Or did I?………