This really happened.
And yes, I used this as the topic of “What I Did Over the Summer” in freshman English with Mr. Reynolds at North Andover High School in 1986.
Long story short:
I was a computer hacker (a pretty lame one) in my early teens.
I definitely did things I should not have done.
But the one time the Secret Service came to my house, I was actually innocent.
A deranged kid in high school had ordered something with a stolen credit card number and had it sent to my house. He was crazy — he’d shot his best friend with a BB gun — so I believed him when he said he’d do terrible things if I told anyone.
Later he told me the package wasn’t going to come, that he’d used a bad credit card number, and I shouldn’t worry.
So there I am, fast asleep one morning (it was summertime, after all), and my mother comes into my room.
“I think you’d better get up.”
I wasn’t in any hurry.
She added: “The Secret Service is here to see you.”
I bolted out of bed.
This isn’t good.
Which of the 100 things they could nab me on was this going to be?
None of them.
It was about the thing that kid had ordered.
All caution went out the window. I told them exactly who had done it, and I even told him how he’d gotten the number.
Back in those pre-Internet days we had BBSs, so I showed them my secret access, etc.
No way am I letting this degenerate ruin my life, I thought.
I told them I was afraid he would retaliate. They assured me they would pay him a visit.
They must have scared the life out of him, because he never came near me after that. But people would come up to me in school and say, “Hey, do you know Jeff M—–? He asked me to punch you.”
(No one actually did it.)
Moral of the story:
Crime doesn’t pay.
If you’re going to use the Internet, use it for something honorable that you can be proud of.
Oh, and don’t “make money online.”
Build a business.
P.S. I’m pulling this short video down tomorrow night, to add to the urgency and excitement. So go watch: https://www.happyearner.com/woodswhiteboard
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