You may not be able to put a freeze on cold calls, but you can learn how to spot those that spell f-r-a-u-d. Here's how:

  1. Say no to high-pressure sales tactics. Legitimate businesses respect the fact that you're not interested.
  2. Tell callers if you don't want to hear from them again. If they call back, they're breaking the law. You can feel comfortable hanging up.
  3. Take your time when you're presented with a sales "opportunity." Ask for written information about the product, service, investment opportunity, or charity that's being pitched. Don't talk with a salesperson if it's not convenient for you. A reputable salesperson should be willing to call you back at a time you choose.
  4. Talk to a friend, relative or financial advisor before you respond to a cold call. Any investment you make may have serious financial consequences for you - and the people you care about.
  5. Hang up if you're asked to pay for a prize. Free is free.
  6. Don't send money - cash, check or money order - by courier, overnight delivery, or wire to anyone who insists on immediate payment.
  7. Keep information about your bank accounts and credit cards to yourself - unless you know who you're dealing with.
  8. Hang up if a telemarketer calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. That's a tip-off to a rip-off.
  9. Check out the company with your state and local consumer protection office before you buy any product or service, or donate money.
  10. If you suspect a scam, call your state Attorney General.