Rodion: There is also one other thing you should watch out for called spearphishing.
Cracked: Is this a thing that happens to foreigners in Russian dayclubs? Because again, there is one pair of Levis in it for you if I can avoid finding out what that is.
Rodion: No. Have you ever received one of those emails from a Nigerian prince, asking you for help moving money out of his country?
Cracked: A few. It's a bit of a cliche now, though, isn't it?
Rodion: It is. But what if you got the same offer from a trusted friend?
Cracked: Boy, that would be nice. Unfortunately, Rodion, I'm an incredibly reserved, even isolated person.
Rodion: I'm sorry to hear that.
Cracked: I had a bad experience in a three-legged race as a kid, and since then I've just never been able to open myself up.
Rodion: OK. Well, let's say you did have friends ...
Cracked: I've tried saying exactly that, every morning when I wake up.
"It's going to happen for us today. IF WE CAN JUST STOP FUCKING UP."
Rodion: -Shakes his head- Well, then let's say a hypothetical person has friends.
Cracked: Oh, like a rhetorical trick. OK.
Rodion: Yes. And instead of getting a shady-seeming offer from a Nigerian prince, this person gets an intriguing offer from a friend. Or a former business colleague. Even if it's the same shady offer, it looks a lot more tempting because it comes from a trusted source.
Cracked: Oh, this. Yeah, Michael Swaim once asked me to send him $80,000 under similar circumstances.
Rodion: And did it work?
Cracked: Of course not. I sent $10,000, because, you know, I don't like him that much. And then when I found out the whole thing was a scam, I ended up looking pretty savvy.
Rodion: I've actually been thinking about just how savvy you are.
Cracked: That's another insane coincidence.
Rodion: I wonder ... do you think your readers would be interested in hearing of a foolproof method to avoid being spearphished?
Cracked: I haven't met any of them, but yes, I've kind of gotten the impression that they are supremely gullible. I think they'd be very interested in this.
Rodion: OK. But you'll have to trust me. That's OK, yes? We are friends now?
Cracked: Well, I ... I don't know that we're friends now exactly. But you have been pretty helpful ... Hmm. Do we have to hug? Is that ... is that how friends work?
Rodion: -The longest, blankest stare yet- Sure.
-We share a lovely hug-
Cracked: Thank you.
Rodion: You're welcome. So then. The secret to avoiding spearphishing. This will make your column. You will win all the column awards with this simple trick.
Cracked: I could use some acclaim. So what's the trick?
Rodion: I don't have it with me. It's a special document only hackers know about. But I can buy it for you. All I need is ... $500.
Cracked: I've only got a hundred on me.
Rodion: -He frowns, strokes his chin- One hundred and the Levis then.
Cracked: I was actually valuing the Levis at one hundred.
I'll spare you the details of the rest of the bartering; suffice it to say that my passport turned out to be way more valuable than I had suspected, a fact discovered when it fell out of my pants as I was removing them. The deal done, I was told to return the next day, giving time for Rodion to procure the spearphishing-prevention tips. This process unfortunately got snagged up in a few technical details, the two most technical of those being that Rodion disappeared from the face of the earth like a fucking specter, and the fact that I was arrested shortly thereafter for being in Russia without identification or pants.
Anyways ... if there's any family members, friends or fans of irony out there who are willing to send me $80,000 for various legal and trouser fees, it'd be greatly appreciated.