Hackers and malware engineers are not necessarily synonymous with scammers. In fact, they do not have anything to do with scammers. They can only be regarded as skilled computer scientists; specifically security experts.
Scammers are however, entirely different. Something common about these two is Social Engineering. The relationship between a hacker and a scammer is similar to the relationship that exists between a door specialist and a thief. Scammers scam for potential gain; no one ventures into what he would gain nothing from(even if it's small). They are driven by greed or desperation: An hacker is just merely someone who's knowledgeable about computer security issues. A Scammer on the other hand is a thief (wants to get some things through dubious and questionable means), so, it's not otherworldly for a thief to use a suitable weapon to ensure success. It's only normal. Who would court death?
There are thousands of malwares. As a matter of fact, malwares are created everyday. They have a wide-range of uses. More so, there are numerous applications of these malwares. Some malwares wreak havoc in the computer. Some are even meant for stealing information and data: common and sensitive alike. Returning to the subject, scammers use many of these malwares though most of them are script-kiddies (they just follow the instructions of hackers and don't really understand how it's done) but not 100% of them because some real hackers are professional scammers. It's just like taking advantage of your skill to at least get some gains. Professional scammers are very busy: They need to communicate with a lot of "clients" and probably don't have much time to dabble too much into non-relevant matters (like really understanding hacking in depth) so they learn to be extremely professional and skillful about those strange chunks of codes which they understand nothing thereof. These malwares and hacking techniques and know-hows are then easily converted to a grim weapon in their hands. They carry out impersonation, phishing, data stealing and threat-scams with these.
As the popular saying, "prevention is better than cure", it's is easier said than done to get yourself from the clutches of a scammer if you allow yourself to be fooled into compromising your computer security or safety. As it has always been, scams have common features even though they appear in different formats.
Care to be sensitive towards this: Do not trust a stranger or an unusual entity or person; do not allow yourself to be engineered and manipulated in anyway(it's quite painful and annoying anyways). Social engineering is the fastest and one of the most basic property of a hacker and a scammer.
This might appear or sound unnecessary, but, you need to know that a strong password keeps a malicious person at bay. A strong password shields you from many password cracking techniques - dictionary attacks and whatnot. A characteristic quality of a good password is:
1- Combination of lower-case and upper-case letters.
2- Inclusion of numbers and symbols.
3- Another simple trick is the formation of a short sentence using the techniques in 2 and 3.
4- Getting a password from a password generator.
You should also care to change your password after a regular interval (I do that at a three-month interval). You might change your password ever 3-6 months.
The starting point of some scams even give you a clue about the authenticity of the contact. Unrealistic or too-good-to-be-true offers are red flags. Lastly, whenever you are unsure or indecisive about a contact, tell a trusted person about it. Scammers try to add a high level of urgency to it as much as they can so that you don't tell others lest their plans be foiled. More Importantly, get a good antivirus. They can save you lots of troubles.