There are a number of nefarious ways to make money using spam email. One of the well known techniques is 'phishing' where a user is tricked into divulging sensitive data to an organisation that claims authenticity. There is however another popular, and older, way affectionately titled 'Stock Pump 'n' Dump' where the bad guys spam out a large number of mail messages offering free stock advice. At first glance it may be considered an altrustic act, but time and time again these endeavours have proved to be profitable only to the nasty folk.
This topic has been covered in the past here. Although I feel that re-iteration is necessary due to the recent spam campaign seen in our spam-traps.
It works like this, the bad guy sends out 10 million emails saying company X's shares are going to rocket and that any person would be wise to invest quickly. Previous to this said bad guy has bought a large number of shares in X. When people falling for this scam regard the stock market they see a recent trend that would suggest share prices are on the increase, so being the astute business-folk that they are, shares are bought. Now, even with a small percentage of spammed people trying to get ahead in this way the stock prices will rise; much to the bad guy's delight. After the prices have risen significantly and the malefactor has earned a pound or two he'll sell all his shares and cause the stock price to crash. The end result of this action is that the victims of this attack will be left with depreciated shares while the nasty man walks away with a big grin on his face and a wad of cash in his back pocket... All in a day's work for a criminal.
Examples of the spam mail that lure folk into buying shares look a little something like this:
"The US stock is going. Tobacco One INc produce millons of tobbaco kinds, and you can roll your own tobbaco under your brand name within the United States. TBCO.PK can make you rich."
"Dowjones going up. This will make the sale's go aboe 240 millon and the company to bring the sharehold values to over 1000%. All you need is to invest in TBCO."
"Get to bus.iness STOCK exchange. This could translate to over 24 Mililon more in sales and will ena-ble the company to bring sharehold values to oevr 1000%. TBCO.PK can make you rich.'"
You can see the common theme occuring in these emails, they are aiming to create interest and play on peoples' personal greed. Essentially they're offering cash.
I suppose the message of the day, with regard to all offers, is to be wary. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.