A reader says she was recently targeted by a phishing scheme:

“I too, was recently scammed with an email that claimed was from my Synchrony Credit Card company.. Thanks to your emails warning us about this type of email, I called Synchrony, instead of clicking on anything!”

Yay! I’m so glad you took the time to think before you clicked. I show lots of different examples of these types of scams to continually remind people to be vigilant.

The most important thing is to apply the five-second rule. No, not the one that says that Oreo you dropped is okay as long as it was only on the floor for five seconds. This five-second rule can also apply to anything on a computer that demands you take immediate action.

Maybe it’s an email that says there’s a problem with your account. Perhaps it’s a pop-up that declares your computer is infected. Let’s factor in phone calls as well. Maybe it’s a call that says your Windows license has expired or that you have warrants.

Messages like that trigger a panic response! The adrenaline makes your heart start pounding and sort of shuts down your brain. You’re liable to click on something or give away your bank information before you really think it over. Simply counting slowly to five and taking a few deep breaths gives you time to engage your brain and calmly think about what to do next.

In this case, checking with your bank to make see if there’s really an issue with your account.