Pause before you click

One of the biggest threats out there is phishing scams. These are deceptive emails and text messages that trick you into clicking on a link to a malicious site or downloading malicious attachments. Phishing emails are frightening and annoying. They flood our in-boxes, hoping to catch us off guard so that we'll fall for their tricks and hand over our private information. It seems like a never-ending battle against these hordes of scammers.

The best approach is to think before you click.

There are many phishing scam tactics, but they all rely on you clicking before you have a chance to really think things through. A phishing scam might say there's a problem with your Amazon account and you need to click fast to clear it up. Or maybe it says you can win a free iPad if you sign up immediately.

Taking a second to think is usually enough time to unravel the scam. You might notice a fishy email address or horrible spelling and grammar, or just remember our advice to never click on links in unsolicited emails.

That's why you should make a habit of waiting a second or two before clicking any link. Use that second to confirm that nothing is out of the ordinary. And if you click the link and are presented with something else to click, take another second to really look at that as well.

While this will add a few seconds to each email, it's worth it when you easily avoid the next phishing email to roll around. So, the question is: Do you have what it takes to outsmart phishing scammers? If there's even a chance that you've come across a phishing email, don't click on any links. Go to the website in question by typing the address directly in another window or tab. And stay away from attachments, too. To do this, you'll need to spot the signs of a fake email.

Look for suspicious

1. Email addresses
2. Links
3. Language
4. Instructions
5. Fine print