I stare at the pop-up ad in disbelief. “Click now to receive three million dollars! Just press the link! ... You have thirty seconds.” I haven’t seen one of these in years!
The background fades to black, throwing a minor shroud of dimness over the room. A countdown timer has started on the window. Man, this is an absolute classic. There can NOT be a hacker out there who thinks people would be dumb enough to click the link.
Except for me. I check again to ensure this machine is totally isolated from my home network and activate the virus trap. Collecting new computer viruses is a hobby of mine, and I’m hoping this one will be interesting. I don’t hold out a lot of hope: the last ‘new’ virus was 1990’s-era and half the code didn’t work.
I click the link. Rather than “You’re punked!” or some other cruel message, all that pops up is a box that says “Thank you. You will be contacted shortly.”
I slide the USB with VirusGrab into the machine and it starts analyzing my PC. This will take a little while, so I head to the kitchen to get a drink and something to munch. The knock on my door is a total surprise.
Putting aside visions of fatty food and sugary drink I change course to the door. I check the peep-hole and it’s a workman of some kind.
“Who is it?”
“Delivery for Brian Vanderweil.”
At this time of night? But I don’t have any enemies, not even online ones, and there’s nothing unusual except the time. I open the door and he immediately starts talking.
“Mister Vanderweil? May I see some ID please?”
“I don’t remember ordering...”
“Some ID please, Mister Vanderweil. I have instructions that this has to be delivered to you personally.”
I grumble and show him my driver’s license. He looks at it, then at me. Finally he nods and hands it back.
“What is this all about, anyway?”
“I have a delivery for you. But since you need to sign for it, we have to be certain everything is proper. Chase!”
A woman walks up with a large briefcase, then holds it flat in front of him. He pops it open and it’s full of money. Hundred dollar bills. He picks up a stack and turns to me.
“Three million dollars, Mister Vanderweil. That will be thirty thousand of these. One... Two... Three... Four...” Each number is punctuated by him handing me a hundred dollar bill.
Eight hours later...
“...Twenty-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine... Thirty thousand. Sign here please.”
He hands me a clipboard which I can barely see. The sun is up but I am in desperate need of sleep. I scrawl on the line (I hope). He hands me a copy.
“Thank you, sir. You should go rest, then start thinking of ways to enjoy your riches.” He looks at his watch. “We’ll be back for your soul in one year, starting... now.”