Cold calling is a sales technique which involves soliciting potential customers who were not expecting to be contacted. The term 'cold' refers to the fact that the sales person hasn't laid any groundwork for their call. Unfortunately deceitful individuals also use this technique to defraud computer users.
Usually the fraudster will claim to be calling from a well-known company; they could then offer to scan your computer for problems. This involves asking the person they’ve contacted to log on to a website and to download a file to help solve the problem. Cold calling in this respect is a variant of the threat of phishing where individuals seek to gain a user’s trust and have them submit private data such as credit card details and passwords.
The person calling you may be using a local phone number, even if they are calling from another country or continent and the caller may also know your name. The caller may ask personal questions such as whether or not you have a computer in the house. They may then claim that they are calling on behalf of a reputable company and offer to check your machine for problems.
The caller will seek remote access to your machine in order to fix the fictitious problems. They may run a scan on your perfectly healthy machine, claim that they found and fixed these problems, and then charge you for the service. They may also carry out more malicious actions when they gain access to your machine such as installing malware or downloading sensitive files.
Granting the fraudster access to your machine has ramifications for your privacy and also for the integrity of your computer and the files it contains. By revealing your credit card details to them in order to pay for the service, you may also be vulnerable to financial abuse.
• A reputable company’s helpdesk will never make unsolicited calls to your home.
• NEVER provide your credit card details to unsolicited callers.
• NEVER provide suspicious callers with personal or sensitive information.