5+ Illegal Side Hustles To Stay Away From (No Matter What)

As it is with most things, there are happy-go-lucky side hustles and there’s this absolute pitch-dark side hustles that are mostly hidden and illegal. I feel side hustles should be a great experience rather than a stress-driven money-making journey. College students and teenagers are the two biggest group of people who choose side hustles to make pocket money. Because, most side hustles don’t require too much work, and the pay is good enough.

Unfortunately, few among them fall in the trap of illegal side hustles. The primary reason is, of course, money. It’s not surprising that most illegal side hustles pay way more than your usual “completing surveys” jobs. In fact, what you can make in a month from completing surveys, you can make the same within a hour from illegal jobs.

Hence, in this post, I’ll list down the 6 illegal side hustles you MUST STAY AWAY FROM. You’ll be doing yourself a favor by staying away from all of these:

(1) Fake Social Media Signals

Have you ever stumbled upon an Instagram account that has a million followers but their uploads don’t get more than 1k views? How can something like that even possible? Yeah, few years ago a huge Instagram leak exposed how celebrities faked their social media follower numbers.

For some reason Google hasn’t taken any action against these practices, and the websites providing such services are publicly available on Google Search. From getting fake YouTube comments, to getting fake likes and subs, everything is available for sale, for few dollars. Few months ago, while doing some research, I found a website (I won’t name) that would deliver 1Million YouTube views for $1,000.

The people who do this are paid depending on how much they can engage. I recently got an email for such “side hustle.” They promised me up to $1 per engagement. $1 may seem too low, but it’s actually quite huge. So, if I Like, and Comment 100 times in a day, I can potentially make $100 everyday.

Though I did not reply to them and spammed the email, this fakery is still at large. Yeah, you can make some money initially, but there’s a high chance Google will penalize your email, or Instagram can altogether ban your account permanently. My suggestion would be to not falling into such mess and look for other ways to make money.

(2) Black Hat Hacking

Computer hacking are mainly of two types, White Hat and Black Hat. In the simplest ways, you can say that the White Hats are the “good guys, and the Black Hats are the “bad guys.” While the White Hat hacker’s main task is to protect a computer infrastructure by defending it from intrusion, the Black Hat hackers are usually more inclined towards offense and breaking into a system.

Black hat hacking is illegal, as you might have already guessed, because it involves trespassing a personal property without permission. While hacking is hard, it’s also publicly available as a side hustle, a highly paid side hustle, in fact. The primary reason why Black hat hacking is high-paying side hustle is because of the risk involved.

Few years ago, I saw a YouTube video about the “Dark Web.” The video explored a dark market where you could hire black hat hackers. What surprised me (and the YouTuber) was how sophisticated and easy it was to hire black hats. Also, you could post public reviews about their work. One among the many black hat got 1k+ reviews. Now, guess how much he/she charged for their service? The minimum “plan” was $5,000. Do the math.

If you’re just looking for a side hustle, let it not be this one. Yes, you can argue that the pay is INSANE. It actually is, not gonna lie, but the RISK is even bigger. Most black hats get caught and get prison sentence. I’m pretty sure you won’t love something like that.

(3) Piracy Blogging

Blogging is probably one of the best side hustles you can start. The earning potential is endless and there are way too many options to make money. But, as it is with most side hustles, people also use blogging to make illegal money.

It’s called Piracy Blogging. Piracy bloggers are those who make websites and shared licensed and copyrighted contents for free. This is most common among anime and movies, because it’s easier to share such contents freely. Sharing licensed contents freely, without consent is a clear case of copyright infringement.

There have been arrests in the past, and still every month some piracy blogger get caught. Yet, this industry is like Hydra’s head, there’s no end to it. Thought there is no actual data, but researchers suspect that the big piracy websites make millions every year from ads and other sources. And, since the investment is negligible, these piracy bloggers do everything under their control to keep on doing it.

No doubt these piracy bloggers make insane money, but please don’t get excited too early. Also read about what happens when they are caught by Government agencies. So, please stay away from creating websites that share piracy contents.

(4) Anything AI Generated

I guess I don’t have to tell you how AI is slowly invading every corner of the internet, and also our lives. Yeah, “invading” might seem like a strong word, but that’s exactly what’s happening. Digital artists are the ones who are revolting against the AI wave.

Check any corner of the internet and you’ll find AI generated digital product. The worst affected website is Etsy. Etsy was known for its authentic, handmade crafts from people who actually knew what they were doing. Today, the platform is plagued with the so-called genuine sellers who sell AI generated artwork in the name of “handmade artwork.” NFTs are the next hotspot of AI.

If you have been thinking of doing the same, please stop. Search engines are smart. If you try to make money off AI generated contents, there’s a high chance you’ll get banned from a platform like Etsy, OpenSea (biggest NFT marketplace).

STAY AWAY from AI generated artwork. AI was created to make life easier, not to replace it. Still, if you have a hard time believing me, try selling something created out of Midjourney and ChatGPT. If you can make money, then good for you, but how long the streak continues is a matter of question.

(5) Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

Get-Rich-Quick scheme fall in the gray area, but carries financial risk. I read in a book that “getting rich quick is possible, but it’s not easy.” Spot on! Yes, it’s possible to get rich quick, but you’ll have to work your a** off. The results will comes quicker for you, and you might even become a millionaire within a year, but can you put in the hard work?

Unfortunately, most people don’t want to work their a** off, even if they know they can become a millionaire quick. So, they try to take a shortcut. Trust me, I have tried several shortcuts in my life, non works, and even if it does, it’s a mind-churning experience.

Get-Rich-Quick schemes work in this domain. In fact, it’s far more easier to operate than other side hustles. People who want to get rich quick try hard to achieve something and fail, and when they do, they are emotionally distraught. They want to succeed at any cost. What’s the cost they pay? Probably EVERYTHING!

I have read about people losing their life-savings to Get-Rich-Quick schemes. Winning a lottery also falls under the same umbrella, but that is different. Funny thing is, getting rich is all about mentality. Most lottery winners blow away through the money in few years and are back to square one in few years. They just can’t handle the immediate lifestyle change.

Are Side Hustles too a get-rich-quick scheme? Hmmm… Yes, if a side hustle promises to make you a millionaire within 21 days, it IS screaming “SCAM.” Stay away from it. Save your life…

(6) Selling Personal Data

It’s dangerous to sell someone’s data without them agreeing. If you do, there’s a high chance you’ll have to face strong legal action not just from the Government, but from the individual too. In worst cases, you might even have to land in jail and pay a hefty fine.

You see how I wrote “agreeing” and not “knowing?” Yeah, that’s what big companies too with their “terms and conditions.” They force you to accept their terms and conditions and the so-called “privacy policy.” But, these are BIG companies we are talking about. They can get away with the legal fee, but that might not be the same with you.

Selling personal data often brings in HUGE money, especially if the data is big enough (in hundreds of thousands), but the risk is too much, and the chances of going wrong is high too. Please don’t get blinded by the money. It is not worth the risk. NEVER!


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