I want to actually show how this industry makes its money.
So far I have:
- Outright theft of your personal information allowing them to rob your bank accounts, run up your credit cards, steal your identity, and other things
- Installing a virus on your computer and then marketing an anti-virus to you(for a price) that promises to remove this virus
- Installing monitoring software on your computer that can do everything from recording everything you type on your keyboard and forwarding that to the information merchant, or by simply monitoring your surfing habits and selling the information to marketing companies
- Installing software on your computer that forces you to view advertising websites (pop-ups), in which the website host receives payment every time someone views the web page ads
- Getting your email address for sale to SPAM lists (advertising through email)
- Posing as love interests on online singles websites. They will go out of their way to develop not only online relationships but phone relationships with unsuspecting, lonely people. Soon the requests for money will start. Often they claim to need money to come to your home country and be with you. It's a scam. They have phony relationships going with many women at once. They operate out of call centers in third world countries, not from homes. They always have some emergency that prevents them from meeting you that will cost just a little bit more money. Of course, they promise they can pay this money back once they get together with you in your home country. A sign that you are in a fraudulent relationship is that you are suddenly paying for the entirety of the long distance calling (you call them; they don't call you unless it is collect). This, to me, is a particularly disgusting way to earn money. But to these people, it's a job. They get up and go to work and earn a decent living in their own, likely impoverished, country. Never send money to a possible internet love interest. You will regret it, I promise you
- Hijacking your computer and turning into a zombie. Simply put, a virus will be placed on your computer, and it will give control over that computer to someone else, somewhere on the Internet. Your computer has just become a "zombie" or a "bot". Hackers and spammers spread viruses in order to develop a whole army of these zombies and can use them for many different things. Your computer could be used to send SPAM to other computers, it could be used as part of an effort with other zombie computers to blast data over the internet at some target, knocking them right off the internet. Often these target websites are victims of extortion. "Pay us or we will attack you with our zombie army". Your computer could operate as normal and give no sign it has been hijacked, or you may find its performance or speed suddenly drops.