Seventy six people have recently been arrested in 15 Independent Communities here in Spain for Internet fraud. Some were deceiving buyers on eBay to part with their money for goods that didn't exist; others were obtaining bank details by using phissing sites. In total they had conned people out of amounts between 40o and 10,000 euros each - a total of more than 2milion euros.
It seems that Spanish computers are favoured by the mafia gangs that turn machines into zombies by taking control of their operation. These people trawl the Internet looking for computers open for inspection. Once they've found them, they gain control of them via their IP addresses and their open ports. The criminals then use the controlled machines to send emails, to collapse Internet sites with denial of service attacks and of course to spread viruses. In the process they can also harvest personal information including bank details.
The weak link is almost always the user. Failure to protect their computers properly with up-to-date anti virus software and a firewall is often the root cause of the problem. In other cases the user has, either responded to an email designed to infect their computer and take control, or visited a website designed to do the same thing.
They say there is no such thing as a free lunch. When you respond to an email offering you cheap software or you visit a warez site to download illegal copies, you are putting your computer at risk. Once these guys have cleared your bank account, the free software suddenly becomes very expensive.
All banks will tell you that they NEVER communicate with customers by email. So any email, no matter how genuine it looks, asking you to confirm your details is after your money. Similarly all those ridiculous emails telling you that you've won thousands (or even millions) in some lottery are fake.