Here are two important terms to know when protecting yourself against scammers:
Attacks use “spoofed” emails and fraudulent websites designed to fool recipients into divulging personal financial information. A phishing attack occurs typically through an unsolicited email allegedly from a bank or other financial services company. They may appear to be legitimate emails from a bank or financial services provider, but they actually represent a scam designed to obtain personal information such as account numbers, SSN's, account usernames, account passwords, address or other personal credentials. By using names of established financial services firms in their emails and fake websites, "phishers" are able to convince some recipients to respond and provide personal information to them.
Phishing emails try to create a sense of urgency. The emails sometimes contain embedded links to a fraudulent website that closely resemble a financial company's actual website and include text that prompts the recipient to enter their personal information. Other phishing emails provide links or attachments that contain malware or install dangerous software if opened. Often, the malware will record keystrokes and search for passwords, which are then sent back to the fraudster.
Pharming is another type of online attack where website names such as ours: www.stellarfi.com are changed to point to a fraudster’s numeric internet address (or IP address) instead of StellarFi’s legitimate IP address. Essentially, cybercriminals are attempting to redirect users to a different, fake site that resembles the one you are trying to reach. To protect yourself against any pharming attempts, you should keep a look out for the URL. URLs starting with “HTTPS” protect your data with basic TLS encryption. Without an “s” at the end of “HTTP,” the website is not encrypted and your data could be exposed.
In addition, be sure to check the padlock icon that is located on the address bar or at the bottom of the window. If the padlock is closed, this means that your information is encrypted. If you see a padlock located elsewhere on the website, be cautious about inputting sensitive information since scammers sometimes add a fake padlock to deceive customers.