As you meet more and more hackers, whether through newsgroups, websites, or in person at a hacker convention, your perception of hackers may well change. Some hackers you meet might fit into the hacker stereotype, but others will vary dramatically from any preconceived notions you may have about them.
Of course, like any group of people, there will always be some that you would do well to avoid. Some of these malicious hackers may try to snare your credit card number, use your identity online, or just harass you by routing a 900 sex hotline to your home phone.
Rather than openly harass you, many hackers may just ignore you and label you a newbie, a derogatory term for "newcomer" that is meant to intimidate you, in the hopes that you'll go away and stop wasting their time. Don't let them frighten you away! You have the right to learn whatever you want, and even the most seasoned hacker was once a novice too. Just keep learning on your own and from others who are willing to help you, and soon you too can be as knowledgeable as the rest of them.