The term cold call refers to calls made predominantly by telemarketers who are trying to sell you something. The call is referred to as cold because they have no information about you other than what they purchased off a list. Usually, they have your name, phone number and address. This call is not made because you willingly signed up for some service or product, it is made because they want to make a sale. Unfortunately, not all the products they sell are legitimate.
There are ways to protect yourself from this type of call. Residential phone number can be placed on a do not call list that will prevent telemarketers from calling you. Once you have put your number on the list, it will take a period of a few weeks for the do not call to go into effect. If you receive a call in this period of time, tell them your number is on the list. They will disconnect the call, they legally have no other choice.
When you receive a call using scare tactics, do not fall for it. You can be told anything from your mortgage is past due and they are going to repossess your home to your child in lost and in trouble. Whatever you are told, do not give out your credit card number. Hang up the phone and check whatever information you were given with your own sources. Chances are you will find out the information was a scam designed to get your money.
Also, remember called ID was invented for a reason. If you receive a call that shows up as private, unknown or blocked, you do not have to answer your phone. Any legitimate caller will leave a message. There is nothing wrong with sending a call to your voice mail or answering machine. When you do answer your phone and realize this is indeed a sales call, simply say no thank you and hang up the phone. If you argue or antagonize these people, they will continue to call. Always remember, their goal is to make money, if you are polite and simply hang up, they will move on to the next call.
The most well known scam is a call telling you that you have won a great deal of money. You simply have to pay a small fee by credit card for processing. Do not do this, never give your credit card to someone you do not know.