Identity Theft

Don't become a victim

In recent months, some of our customers have received e-mail that appears to be from The Union Bank, but is designed to trick you into revealing private information. This scam is called "phishing," and the number of victims is on the rise. You don't have to be one of them. Here's our pledge.

We will never:

  • Send e-mail that requires you to enter personal information directly into the e-mail
  • Send e-mail threatening to close your account if you do not take the immediate action of providing personal information
  • Send e-mail asking you to reply by sending personal information
  • Send e-mail asking you to enter your User ID, password or account numbers into an e-mail or non-secure webpage

Appearances are meant to be deceiving

If you didn't know better, you could be fooled by fraudulent e-mail. Some appear to show very convincing information, some may show an exact replica of a The Union Bank web page.

Don't reply, click or enter any information if you receive a suspicious e-mail. Keep the e-mail in your inbox and Contact Us. We may ask you to forward it to us so we can investigate the matter.

You can also report it to us at one of the following numbers:
Main Number: 1-318-253-4531
Toll Free: 1-877-216-0490

Stay informed

Knowing what these scams are and how to recognize them can help you lessen your chances of becoming a target.

Here is a list of questions frequently asked by our customers:

What is "phishing?"

"Phishing" is a form of e-mail fraud. Criminals create e-mails and websites that closely resemble those of legitimate companies. Their goal is to entice you to provide them with personal information they can then use to gain access to your assets or other sensitive data. In this case, they're trying to get to your accounts.

One of the most common methods is to e-mail a link to a website that "spoofs" a legitimate company's site. There, they hope to trick you into entering your login information. Once a criminal has successfully "phished" information from you and/or your account, he/she can use that information to steal your money and your identity.

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What is identity theft?

Armed with personal information such as your name, Social Security Number and date of birth, a thief can open credit accounts, apply for loans, steal your money, buy expensive items such as cars or homes, or even commit crimes in your name - then disappear. You're left with headaches, numerous bills and damage to your credit history that could take years to repair.

More than 700,000 people will be targeted this year and that number is growing. Most victims won't know anything has happened until they are called by a collection agency, are denied credit, or find unknown charges on their bank or credit card statements.

According to the federal government, 12 months pass before most victims realize their identity has been stolen. Once the crimes are discovered, victims typically need another six months or more to completely clear their names.

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How do I recognize a fraudulent e-mail?

It can be very difficult. Many of these e-mails use logos, formats and phrases that are identical to legitimate e-mails sent by The Union Bank. Some frauds are easy to spot because they contain misspellings, misused words, or even a copy of a web page within the body of the e-mail. Others may provide more subtle clues, such as unfamiliar return e-mail addresses or links to websites that don't include the union-bank.com domain.

No matter how convincing an e-mail might look, or how compelling its message, you can be sure of one thing. If it asks you to enter personal information such as your User ID, password, account number or Social Security Number, it didn't come from The Union Bank. Period.

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How do I report a fraudulent e-mail?

First, don't delete the e-mail. If you are suspicious of an e-mail from The Union Bank, contact us at admin@union-bank.com or call us immediately at one of these numbers:
Personal Accounts: (318)253-4531
Business Accounts: (318)253-4531
Credit Cards: (318)253-4531

We may ask you to forward the e-mail to us so we can investigate the incident and warn other customers. We may then advise you to delete it, print it or consider reporting it to other agencies as well.

Regardless of what you do, you should keep a record of when and to whom you reported the incident. If any of your personal information has been stolen, this record may help you prove how you were targeted.

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Are "phishing" and identity theft really that serious?

The U.S. Attorney General says identity theft is the fastest-growing white-collar crime in the country, costing $60 billion in the past five years. Nearly 10 million Americans (3.4% of the U.S. population) have fallen victim to it. According to the FBI, 70% of victims are between the ages of 20 and 50.

Reports of Internet scams have more than doubled each year since 2001, but only three percent of those who see it actually report it. The Anti-Phishing Working Group estimates that "phishing" incidents are increasing by 50% every month with as many as 5% of recipients either responding to or clicking the links within the fraudulent e-mails.

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How do I know the The Union Bank website I'm viewing is legitimate?

If you don't recognize the URL when you click a link in e-mail, you should open a new browser and type in an address you know. The majority of fraudulent e-mail messages will link to fake copies of a legitimate site.

If you're suspicious, type the familiar address, like http://www.union-bank.com/ (don't forget the "-" (minus sign) between "union" & "bank") into your browser to be certain you go to our site.

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How does The Union Bank secure my information when I'm logged in?

We use a variety of methods and technology to keep your confidential information out of the hands of online criminals.

  1. When you log in to your online account, your password is encrypted and the characters are replaced with asterisks so no one can see your password. Any screen that displays or requests information about your account is also encrypted.
  2. We store your User ID and password in our database in an encrypted format that even we cannot decode.
  3. We have procedures in place so that when a customer contacts our call center, visits a banking center or banks online, we can verify their identity.

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How can I protect myself?

There are many different types of e-mail fraud, which makes enforcement and prosecution difficult. The best way to protect your identity and your accounts is to be informed and cautious. And, remember - we will never ask you to enter personal or account information in e-mail or download an attachment from e-mail.

Here are some guidelines to help you protect yourself:

  1. Be suspicious of e-mails with urgent requests for personal financial information.
    Many fake e-mails use strong and often threatening language to convince you that something bad will happen (i.e., your account will be shut down) if you do not click the provided link immediately and update or validate your account information. Misspelled or misused words should also be warning signs.
  2. Do not reply, click or enter information if you receive a suspicious e-mail.
    "Phishing" e-mails typically ask for login information, Social Security Numbers or account numbers. You should only communicate this information from your secure inbox or by phone. We will never ask you to disclose it in e-mail.
  3. Don't click unfamiliar links or fill out forms within e-mail messages.
    If you don't recognize a web address included in an e-mail, you should open a new browser and type in an address you know. The majority of fraudulent e-mails will either have a copy of a web page included as part of the e-mail or link to fake copies of the The Union Bank home page or Login page. If you're suspicious, type the familiar address, like "www.union-bank.com", into your browser to be certain you go to our site.
  4. Log in regularly to check your online accounts.
    It's wise to check your accounts at least once a week. If you don't check them very often, you may allow criminals a lot of time to do damage before you realize it. We also recommend that you review your monthly statements for accuracy and order copies of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus at least once a year.
  5. Ensure your browser and security software information is updated.
    Some suspicious e-mail can contain viruses or hidden programs that secretly track and report your Internet activity and use. Anti-virus software, firewall protection and software patches from your operating system provider (i.e., Microsoft or Apple) can help prevent criminals from monitoring your online activities. Also, be sure to keep your software up to date by installing any manufacturer-issued security patches. If you use wireless devices, such as smart phones or PDAs, be sure to enable Wireless Encryption Protocol (WEP).
  6. Safeguard your online activity.
    You should always log out of an online banking session anytime you step away from your computer. And, be sure to shut off or disconnect your computer from the Internet when not in use. If you use a computer with public access, such as in a library or Internet cafe, please ensure that any User IDs and passwords you enter are not saved on that computer.
  7. Protect your online identity.
    Criminals can get your e-mail address in many ways - searching websites and chat rooms, buying online address lists, etc. You can be prepared by creating more than one e-mail address. Use one for general web use (i.e., chat rooms, newsletters, etc.) with the expectation that it will receive spam. Keep at least one more for private uses like secure communications with your online banking service. Also, avoid entering your e-mail address at unsecured sites if possible. Many websites don't require your e-mail address for registration or ordering purposes, but they ask for it so they can add you to mailing lists for newsletters, sales, etc. Criminals and spammers buy these mailing lists to use for "phishing" purposes.
  8. Report any attempts to steal your private information.
    Anyone who has access to your personal information can be a threat. Keeping us informed will help all of our customers in the future.

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I'm already cautious about my online activity. Am I still at risk?

Identity theft isn't only a threat online. Not even the best security measures can stop a determined thief from stealing your wallet or purse, searching through your trash for unshredded receipts or even looking over your shoulder at an ATM.

Here are some offline precautions you can take:

  1. Secure any personal information you have at home, especially if you have roommates, frequent visitors or hired services.
  2. Shred all unwanted materials that contain sensitive personal or financial information. You should also shred advertisements containing offers or inducements that another person could activate in your name.
  3. Follow up with creditors if bills and/or statements don't arrive at expected times.
  4. When you use an ATM, you should cover your hand when you enter your PIN, never write your PIN down on anything you discard, and always take your ATM receipt.
  5. Sign your credit cards as soon as you receive them and never carry cards you don't use regularly.
  6. Don't carry your Social Security card or give out your number unless absolutely necessary.
  7. Take outgoing mail to a U.S Postal Service collection box, instead of using your unsecured personal mailbox.

It's easier than you may think for someone to take your identity and run. Make it a habit to protect your private information at all times.

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What should I do if I think someone has my banking information?

Report any incident to us immediately. Depending on the severity, we can help you:

  • Cancel affected accounts and open new ones with different account numbers and PINs
  • Review your account activity and statements for suspicious activity
  • Determine other courses of action, such as reporting theft to major credit bureaus and appropriate authorities

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Other Resources

For more tips on preventing e-mail fraud and identity theft, there are many useful tips from the Federal Trade Commission.

Also, you can see this report from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency: You Can Fight Identity Theft