Thinking and Meaning

The thinking man's guide to creating connections.

How Spammers Make Money

Spam can be dangerous

People who send spam emails and text messages are in it for more than simply irritating the average person. They make money by sending fake messages or ones that encourage you to buy products – legitimate or otherwise. By law, spammers must honor all “unsubscribe” requests, but many do not. If you receive the requests on your phone, you can block the phone number, but even that may not stop the messages.  You can report the activity to the appropriate authorities but it may not help much.

Creating the Bankroll

Spammers make money in several ways. The spammer collects a large number of emails to use as targets. Some send out a million or more messages per day, through email or text message. Spam artists that make the most money are often creators of scams, getting people to buy products that will never arrive. Many people will simply forget about small purchases, so the thief keeps the money. The money adds up fast. The most notorious spammers have made millions of dollars before being caught and fined or jailed.

If you think spammers are making small paychecks, consider this: Current reports show that spammers and other internet con artists make more money than drug dealers. The crooks have less chance of getting caught, especially if they use email services like Gmail or fake Internet phone numbers.

Spammers who use bot-nets or hacker-controlled systems, charge $300-$700 or more per hour.

Selling Information

Spammers also make money by stealing and selling personal information. Some spammers can get people to give out credit card numbers and social security numbers by phishing. They might pretend to be someone who works for a real company like Amazon or a government agency like the Social Security Administration. The email contains links and asks for information such as your username, addresses, password or credit card information. The spammer may use the information for sell it to third parties.

Spammers use a common trick to get people to enter their information. You will receive a link to a site that appears to be a legitimate site. Once you click on the link, your computer is infected with spyware, malware, or viruses. It’s an easy mistake to make because the fake site looks like the real site, except that the name is misspelled. For example, you think you’ve clicked on a link for www.amazon.com, but the fake address is www.anazon.com. Your account gets charged for any purchases you make. Unless your bank or credit card has anti-fraud protection, you may not get your money back. The spammers are smart and are usually untraceable.

Protecting Yourself

You should act as if every text message or email you get could be from a scammer or spammer. Type information into your browser instead of clicking on the links sent to you. If you receive any suspicious messages, delete them completely from your phone or computer. You should update your anti-virus, spyware and malware programs on a regular basis.