Skimming devices steal ATM card info at Hinsdale, Lake Forest banks

February 7, 2013 2:33:58 PM PST
Police say hundreds of suburban bank customers are victims of ATM fraud after someone used skimming devices to steal debit card information.

Lake Forest officials said card information from multiple customers was skimmed at a Northern Trust Bank ATM. Two incidents were also reported at Hinsdale banks.

In all the cases, skimming devices were placed on ATMs just off the bank lobbies.

"We're just at the beginning parts of the investigation, but we think it could be as many as a hundred people whose accounts were fraudulently-accessed," Hinsdale Police Chief Bradley Bloom said.

Police say the criminals likely entered the ATM vestibules after hours when no one was around and installed the skimming equipment over the card readers of the ATMs. The card readers allow the criminals to steal data from the card's magnetic strip.

A camera on the skimmers also recorded the user typing in the card's pin number. With all that information, the crooks were able to create duplicate cards and make ATM withdrawals elsewhere.

"The banks right now are the victim of this. And I think everyone who's lost money, if they can prove that those transactions were fraudulent, has been made whole," Chief Bloom said.

    Security experts say there are simple steps you can take while making a withdrawal to prevent skimming:
  • If something doesn't look right with the ATM, you should tug on the card reader. If it's been compromised, it'll likely be loose;
  • It's a good idea while entering your PIN number to cover the keypad with your hand;
  • And banks say it's a good idea to get text alerts for your phone, so you know whenever there's an ATM withdrawal;
  • Update your PIN number;
  • Skimming can also happen with the front door reader, so use a non-ATM card to get into the bank's lobby after hours.

Police are combing through reams of surveillance video and the Secret Service is also involved in the investigation.