Well, first of all, my friend, there are zillion illegal ways to make money online in today’s world. However, people tend to believe that the internet is something that can make them a millionaire overnight. There is a grain of truth to that as well.
Once Picasso made a painting in 30 seconds for a fan, who later sold it for 30 million dollars. Yes, that 30 seconds made him a millionaire, but for Picasso, it took 30 years of continuous practice to achieve that feat.
People nowadays chose to adopt illegal ways on the internet to make big bucks. Not only they are risking themselves for a life of crime and prison, but also even if you get away with it, the money earned is not worth the efforts. And you will be living in constant fear of getting caught someday.
So I do not recommend you try to use any of these methods to start making online income. This post is just for your knowledge, and helpful because it will tell you what kinds of online businesses are illegal and at all costs, you should avoid getting into these cybercrimes.
So what are these sneaky illegal ways to make money online? Some people do phishing, blackhat marketing, Piracy, hacking, running a Ponzi scheme, Selling Drugs online, Pyramid Schemes, credit card scams, injecting malware, etc. are a few of them.
Here are the laws that some of the cybercrime violates and the corresponding imprisonment period. If you ask me, I will never want to trade even one year of my life for any amount of money in the world.
|Cyber Crime||Law Violation||Imprisonment|
|Hacking||CFAA, 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(1)||1 to 10 years|
|Phishing||CFAA, 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A)||Upto 20 Years|
|Malware Infections||CFAA, 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A)||Upto 10 Years|
|Identity Theft||18 U.S.C. § 1028|
|Copyright Infringement||CFAA, 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2)||1 to 5 Years|
|Selling Drugs Online||21 U.S.C. Section 841||10 to 40 Years with Fine|
|Piracy||Title 17, U.S.C., Sections 501 and 506||Upto 20 Years with Fine|
|Ponzi Schemes||14 Years|
|Blackhat/Spamming Email Marketing||CAN_SPAM Act||Fine of up to $43,280|
Here are the 10 Sneaky Illegal Ways To Make Money Online
The law says that intentionally accessing someone’s computer without his prior authorization or exceeding the authorized access to gain critical information that causes someone damage to their belongings is illegal.
It means you cannot access someone’s computer system through any form of a computer program or a script. Breaking into the security system of prominent corporations, governments, or even a person (Yes, hacking your neighbors’ wifi password) can get you in some severe troubles.
If you have ideas of becoming the new age hacker like Neo in the movie Matrix, then I might just let you know your dreams are going to get shattered into pieces.
No doubt, there are lots of people who made some serious money by refining this art of cybercrimes. At the back of my mind, I can think of Albert Gonzalez, who made more than 200 million dollars stealing credit card information using SQL injection.
The sad part is he got caught and served the rest of the life in jail.
Phishing is another illegal activity that teenagers think is cool. It starts with deceptively knowing your ex-girlfriend’s Facebook account password and may end up stealing credit card information. Phishers accomplish this feat by setting up a fake web page that closely resembles the original website and misleading your victims into entering their private data.
Have you ever got an email saying you’ve won a million-dollar cash prize from cola-cola? Or unscrupulous emails that notify you have exhausted your Netflix balance and prompt you to visit a page and enter your credit card information. Then beware, you might get victimized of a phishing attack.
The attacker might use your credit card information for buying stuff online or even sell the data to a third party to make money online. There are several cases registered against phishing attacks.
It sounds cool, but I don’t think you should take this risk as finding an amateur phishing attacker is extremely easy these days.
Malicious software, popularly going by the name Malware, are unscrupulous programs that get installed into your computer systems without your authorization. Once injected, Malware can infect your computer system in various ways.
The most common source of Malware is the internet. If you’re surfing malicious websites to download pirated games, softwares, movies, etc., then your system might get infected by Malware. That means you should stop downloading the torrent files on your computer.
There is no way to know whether the cracked softwares you’re downloading are safe to use or not. So either use Mac or keep a good antivirus installed into your computer to protect your self from these programs.
The most famous example of making money online was making use of Ransomware. In this particular Malware, the attacker encrypts all of your files and later asks for money (almost $300) through Bitcoins. Or all the data will be deleted in 2-3 days automatically.
Innocent people who do not want to lose their files send the money in hopes of recovering their files. The payment made through bitcoins are anonymous, and there is no way to track whose account it was.
Identity Theft has become one of the fastest-growing cybercrimes on the internet—almost 6.64% of the consumers have become victims of identity theft.
Hackers can impersonate you digitally and can make use of your credit cards and other information. While they create a replica of your identity and use your information to buy stuff online, you, on the other hand, have no idea.
You bear the consequences of bad credit score or any illegal activity after that. Identity theft was a significant problem in 2016, with over $16 billion losses recorded.
The leading cause of identity theft is stolen or lost mobile devices.
Copyright Infringement and Piracy
Copyrights prohibit others from performing specified acts. But if someone commits these prohibited acts, it will be called an infringement of copyrights.
In simple language, it means you cannot make money by copying someone else’s work without getting prior authorization.
But many people try to start a youtube channel by copying other people’s work and making few changes in it without adding the significant value of their own—no matter why their channels never get monetized. At the minimum, they get trapped into the cycles of copyright disputes and content ID match.
There are levels of copyright infringements, and as you go above the punishment increases. On youtube, you only get a demonetized channel, but by law, if you’re selling movies or games without authorization, you will see jail time. Better to create original and your take to any subject
Selling Drugs Online
Another easy way to get into the eyes of the law is to start an ecommerce website that sells illegal stuff, for example, drugs. The famous example of this can be the Silk Road website created by Ross William Ulbricht.
Silk Road was the Amazon.com of the deep web. You can sell and buy all kinds of illegal drugs from that website. Termed as the online black market of the darknet, Silk Road was accessed using a torr browser using the onion routing technology.
Anyone could visit the site if he knows the cryptic domain name of the site that ends with a .onion extension. The website made Ulbricht a millionaire overnight, but soon got arrested by the Federal Police.
Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes
Ponzi and pyramid schemes have several similarities based on the fact that both of them rely on the number of new investors that come to their business. If you know any company or industry is promising you very high returns on your investments, then chances are high you’re getting involved in a Ponzi or Pyramid scheme.
What happens in a Ponzi scheme is a selfish person, considered to be as the fund manager asks you for money in return of a promise of giving you back double or even triple the money in a year or so.
Who doesn’t want 300% returns on their investments in a year? So you give him the money thinking you’re going to be a rich guy in a year. But as soon as the year passes by, you see the company shuts down and the owner getting jailed. What happened?
The Ponzi scheme relies on the money invested by the new investors, and the old investors get paid from the funds the new investors inject into the pool. As soon as the volume of new investors starts to plummet, the profits start to disappear. And the scam becomes obvious. Only the top people make money. And even after that, they have to do some jail time.
The Pyramid scheme is somewhat similar. The only difference is that the pyramid scheme has a product to sell. The product is not useful, but what the owner does is transfer the selling rights to the buyer. Then the lower tier buyer tries to sell the product to other people to make up for his investment.
It is evident that once this kind of scheme gets into a large scale, it gets eventually identified by the law. Unless you’re the founding member or very high at the tier, you will not make any money.
So it would be best if you stop wasting your time and money into these schemes. There are many legitimate ways of making money online.
Blackhat Marketing and Spamming
Blackhat marketing and spamming is another kind of illegal activity that is monitored by the CAN-SPAM laws. It says that you cannot use blackhat tools or softwares to start spamming your affiliate links to various websites or email addresses.
The person you are going to send an email should give you prior authorization to do so. Therefore, if you’re thinking of buying a database of email lists to post your affiliate links in hopes someone will buy, then think again. You’re probably waste a lot of time and may end up paying hefty penalties.
In the end, I would like to say that using illegal ways of making money online is not worth the effort. Given the risk involved, the money so earned is not so enjoyable. You will be living in constant fear of getting caught by the authorities.
Some of the ways require excellent skills in coding and extensive knowledge of various tools and softwares. Hackers indulge themselves in such tools and softwares from their early life. There is a steep learning curve for them.
Further, you will need to have contacts with some of the dangerous crime lords in your country. That means not only your reputation but your life is also at risk. So listen to your friend over here, and don’t even try to start looking for illegal ways of making money online. It is not worth it.