Someone installed a hidden "skimming" device on a Lake Forest ATM to steal private information from bank customers, Lake Forest police announced last week.
Police said the device likely was attached to an ATM in the lobby of Northern Trust Bank, 265 E. Deerpath Rd. Police said it recorded customers' account numbers, PIN numbers or both during the last two to three months.
That information was then used to make fraudulent withdrawals at numerous ATMs in the Chicago area, police said in a release.
Deputy Police Chief Karl Walldorf said the device was removed before bank officials could recover it.
"We are guessing the device was fairly convincing," he said. "If the device was up for a while and no one noticed, it was most likely pretty professional."
Walldorf said he was unsure how many accounts were compromised or how much money was illegally withdrawn. He added that no information was available yet about possible suspects.
Last week, Hinsdale police launched an investigation into similar skimming incidents at Hinsdale Bank and Trust, 25 E. First St., and a local branch of Northern Trust Bank, 4 N. Washington St.
Fraudulent withdraws and unauthorized transactions were made with information gathered from ATMs at both banks throughout January.
Vernon Hills police identified another skimming device Jan. 16. Officer Sharon Joseph said a customer found it attached to an ATM inside the U.S. Bank located at 175 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Many skimming devices are disguised to fit over or inside card readers. They work by recording account information from the magnetic strips on cards when customers use them at a hacked machine.
A small camera is often hidden on the ATM to capture PIN numbers as they're entered into the keypad. Counterfeit cards can then be made using the information.
Amy Bickers, spokeswoman for Northern Trust Bank, declined to comment on the details of the skimming incident in Lake Forest. She said the bank was reimbursing clients whose accounts were hacked.
Police encourage those who suspect their accounts were compromised to email Detective Kevin Zelk at firstname.lastname@example.org to file a report.