Tips for Protecting Personal Information from Scammers

At a time when various fraudsters and disseminators of questionable information are active, we ask you to think carefully about who you provide your personal and financial information to, whom you transfer money to, and what you publish on various social networking sites. The customers of Latvijas Gāze have also encountered fraudulent cases when fake bills are sent on behalf of Latvijas Gāze. Therefore, we urge you to be careful and not get scammed.

Most often, scammers send an e-mail that looks official but is not. The e-mail recipient is asked for personal data and payment for an invalid invoice. As nobody wants to be in debt, the recipient quickly makes a payment to fulfil the request specified in the e-mail.

TOP 3 Security Tips of Latvijas Gāze

1. Check the sources and information received carefully!

    Pay your gas bills only through official channels: customer portal, online solution or other. If you make an online banking transfer, check whether the particulars of the undertaking and billing accounts coincide with those published on our website. Bank accounts. When making electronic payments, make sure you are using only secure websites, i.e., your browser must have a lock symbol next to the web address, or the address must begin with https.

    It is no secret that in case the debtor and the company have not been able to mutually agree on the repayment of the debt, the company transfers the customer’s data to the debt collection company. Latvijas Gāze cooperates with Paus Konsults and Conventus. The debt collection service provider contacts the debtor using the contact information provided by the company to the debt collection agency, i.e., telephone number, e-mail, or address. 

    2. Never disclose personal information by telephone, such as access data to your e-mail, customer portal, bank account.

      Latvia Gāze never requests by telephone or e-mail to provide your access password to the customer portal, e-mail, or information about bank access – passwords, codes, etc.

      However, the verification of a person’s identity is very important to prove that there is a real person behind the transaction or request for information. Therefore, Latvijas Gāze has developed a procedure for verifying the identity of customers to prevent fraud or disclosure of personal data. When contacting the customer centre of Latvijas Gāze, the customers are asked to provide the subscriber number (unique identifier assigned to the customer of Latvijas Gāze), name, surname and personal identification number. When requesting information to check or update it in our database, the employee shall justify the need for it. To improve security and customer service, as well as to prevent possible disagreements and misunderstandings due to failed communication or human factor, all calls made to our customer centre are recorded.

      3. Be careful if you receive an unexpected message from the company!

        Latvijas Gāze sends the customers bills, reports, and letters regarding changes in the amount of the balanced payment, requests to report meter readings, reminders, and warnings about late payments, as well as information about a requested service. We send the information to the e-mail or postal address and telephone number provided by the customer. If you receive an unexpected message from us, please check the information carefully.

        Check the information received carefully!

        If you unexpectedly receive information indicating a transfer or a request to verify your personal information, cross-check the company that contacted you before proceeding.

        You should verify:

        • Terms and conditions to know exactly what you agree to;
        • Contact information such as phone number, e-mail, and actual address. Beware of sites that have only a contact form and no other contact information;
        • Online reviews to learn about other people’s experiences. Do not use only one source of reviews, as they may be fake. Study the reviews on social media channels or independent online resources;
        • If you receive information from a charity, check that it is registered.
        • If in doubt, contact the company to verify the accuracy of the information received.

        Be careful when disclosing personal information!

        Criminals sometimes use the cover of recognisable companies to extort money or information. A criminal who gains access to the health and financial data, private correspondence, or other confidential personal data may threaten to disclose the sensitive information unless they receive money, commercially valuable information, or other valuables. Legitimate companies, such as social media platforms, banks, service companies, comply with data protection law and will not participate in the illegal disclosure of personal data. Therefore, fraudsters often pretend to be company representatives and contact to access personal data. Never disclose your information to someone you do not know. Companies will not call you to ask for your personal information, PINs, security codes, or passwords. If you did not make a call to the company yourself, do not disclose any of your information.

        Remember that whenever you are contacted via e-mail, phone, or SMS, you are in control of what personal information you provide and what you do, regardless of what the sender (caller) says.

        Be careful when posting information about yourself online

        Today, the world is much smarter than it was yesterday. Many people post personal information about themselves on social networks, personal blogs, and elsewhere. Even if the user profiles are protected, there is a security threat of account hacking and/or data leakage. Therefore, pay extra attention when posting personal information about yourself:

        • Do not publish information that could endanger the safety of you, your home, or your family. For example, do not advertise that you are out of the house for a longer period;
        • Never use ‘out-of-office answers’ in your personal e-mail accounts. Leave this function to the business e-mail so that partners or customers know that you are not reachable. For private e-mail, such a message may indicate that you are not at home;
        • Turn off the geotagging on the camera of your mobile phone. In case you place an item for sale on a social networking site (such as eBay, Facebook, etc.), a smart criminal with a free geotag reader will know the exact location of the item you are selling.

        Recognise the fraudsters

        Some fraud may be obvious, while others may be more complex and difficult to recognise. So here are some of the features to keep in mind:

        • Unsolicited communication from the company;
        • A deal that seems too good to be true;
        • You are asked to share personal information;
        • Most often, you are forced to respond quickly or transfer money quickly, stating in the communication – quickly, today, immediately;
        • You are asked to pay by an unusual method, such as a transfer service, e.g., Western Union or via virtual currency such as Bitcoin;
        • The contact information provided is unclear;
        • There are many spelling or grammar mistakes in the received message;
        • You are asked to remain silent about the offer.

        Thousands of people fall victim to such crimes every year. Fraud schemes vary widely, so it is getting harder to protect yourself, but here are some simple and sensible things you can do:

        • Never disclose personal information by telephone, such as access data to your e-mail, bank account, or payment card;
        • If you feel the information provided by the caller is relevant, request it to be sent by mail or e-mail so that you can later verify the veracity of the information or offer provided, the reputation and feedback of the company;
        • Never obey a request to make immediate decisions. One of the scammers' favourite tactics is to rush a decision so that you are more likely to participate in the scheme. If you start to feel pressure, just hang up;
        • Do not reply to unsolicited e-mails that request personal, financial, or security information (pin code, password, access data);
        • If you believe the e-mail is from a genuine source, check it, i.e., compare the contact information provided in the e-mail or make a payment to the account number listed on the website of the company. If the information differs from the information available on the website, report it to the company. This is how you will protect yourself and others;
        • Be careful if you are asked to transfer money to unidentifiable locations, such as mailboxes or money transfer companies, instead of bank accounts;
        • Do not disclose personal information via e-mail or online chat in a public place;
        • Think carefully about the personal information you publish online.

        If you find out that you have been cheated, contact the bank and the police immediately!

        Contact your bank immediately to ask if you can get a refund. Banks may have different fraud policies, but all banks are responsible for the protection of your money. It is important to remember that the chances of recovering money are proportional to how quickly the incident is reported to the bank, or how quickly an application is submitted to the police, which can be done electronically on or sent to the e-mail or via mail to the nearest state police station.

        Fraud and financial crime are the ways in which a person or company obtains money illegally to profit from it. These crimes are usually associated with the fraud or abuse of trust. In the complex economy of today, fraud and financial crime can take many forms.

        Recently relevant are the schemes in which people are fraudulently forced to disclose their personal data by fraudulent means. Fraudsters reach out to people through e-mails, text messages, and online transactions to obtain personal information such as credit card information, passwords, financial information, bank account numbers, contract numbers, addresses, etc.

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