Many moons ago, I wrote a hardware article about memory design for Byte magazine. Not too long after it was published, I got two post cards from an Eastern European communist country asking for a copy of the article. It was signed by some scientists from a univeristy, I think. Well, that wouldn't be right for me to do, and illegal, too, so on a lark, I thought I'd call the FBI and ask them if they would be interested in having the post cards.
I was invited to bring them down to their offices. I arrived and was taken to a non-descript room where two agents interviewed me. They assured me it was probably nothing but asked if I could do them a favor. The one agent told me these "scientists" probably already had the article but were looking to see if I would respond.
Nothing would probably happen but, sometime later, I might get a phone call from someone claiming to be one of the scientists. They might ask me out to dinner or something to discuss the article.
Not that they thought anything like that would actually happen. I thought it would be fun!
About a month went by. It was a dark and stormy night. I was alone in my small home, my wife mysteriously had not arrived home from work yet. The wind howled through the trees. Things went bump in the night. Then....the phone rang.
"Hi! I represent a publisher from XYZ Company in Denver, Colorado. We saw your article in Byte magazine and thought it was very good. We're always looking for writers and I'm calling to see if you had any ideas for a book. Specifically we'd be interested in bleeding edge technology and the latest high capacity hard disk drives."
I said, "Could you excuse me a minute, sir. I have to go wipe the crap out of my pants."
I kid you not. I was shaking. I called the FBI agents the next day. I had asked the publisher to send me a sample book of what they were interested in. The FBI said they would check on the company but to follow through and see what happens.
Not that they thought anything would.
Turns out, the publisher was legitimate. It was the most harrowing two weeks of my life.