What is a cold call?
Cold calls are phone calls from companies trying to sell you something, even though you have not asked them to call you. Cold calls are usually illegal and are typically a scam. They are annoying, frustrating and even frightening.
Even though it won't necessarily block scammers, you can register for free with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to reduce the number of cold calls you receive.
What are some common types of phone scams?
It can be hard to distinguish between a scam and a cold call. However, it's good to know some typical tricks scammers use so you can be prepared.
Someone may call claiming to be from your bank, telling you there's a problem with your card or account. Unfortunately, the caller will often sound professional and may even call you from the same telephone number that your bank calls you from. This is called 'number spoofing'. They will try to convince you that your card has been cloned or your money is at risk.
They may ask for your account and card details, including your PIN, and even offer to send a courier to collect your card. They may also advise transferring your money to a 'safe account' to protect it. Over 500 million pounds were lost to impersonation scams in the UK in 2021.
Banks never ask you to transfer your money into a 'safe account', never ask you to disclose your PIN, or send a courier to collect your card.
Computer repair scams
A scammer may call you claiming to be from the helpdesk of a well-known IT firm, such as Microsoft. They'll tell you that your computer has a virus and will ask you to download 'anti-virus' software, possibly at a cost.
The software is spyware, used to gain access to your PC and your personal details. Legitimate IT companies don't contact customers this way.
One of the best anti-scam teams out there that assist the FBI is 'Scammer Payback'. There channel produces some great advice and has prevented thousands from being scammed.