By Bob Uphues
First National Bank of Brookfield's president last week said an investigation continues into the use of a card skimmer on its drive-thru ATM to gain PIN numbers of a large number of debit cards used during the weekend of Oct. 5-6. The probe is ongoing and bank officials were "dedicated to making sure justice is done," said Jan Schultz, the bank president.
In a letter to customers dated Oct. 8, the bank said that "a significant number of our ATM cards were fraudulently utilized." The bank apologized "for the inconvenience and frustration this has caused."
The letter stated that the only information compromised in the breach was PIN numbers and no other personal information.
"We believe we have stopped this particular fraud event and are working diligently with our card processor to implement strategies to mitigate future events," the letter stated.
While it seems that numerous incidents of fraud occurred on the weekend of Oct. 5-6, the letter stated that "criminals appear to have been able to steal customer debit card information sometime in the past several months at our drive-thru ATM."
Asked how many debit cards might have been compromised, Schultz declined to name a figure, saying, "The investigation is just starting and it'd be a bad idea for me to say too much about what we suspect and how we're going to go about catching those folks."
Schultz said that the bank has ensured that no customers lost money and that it has closed out the old cards and issued new ones.
"We appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers," Schultz said. "The silver lining is that the fraud alert system we have in place worked really well."
He also said that First National Bank of Brookfield was not the only bank where an ATM was targeted, though he declined to name them.
"Several banks have had these skimmer incidents," Schultz said.
Brookfield Police Chief Edward Petrak said First National Bank of Brookfield did contact local police about the incidents and that a detective "gave them guidance," but the bank did not file an official report locally.
In response to a question from the Landmark whether any federal law enforcement agencies were investigating the matter, Schultz in an email stated, "I cannot confirm that the FBI or any other federal agency will open an investigation."
The letter to customers stated that "First National Bank of Brookfield will actively pursue these criminals and prosecute them to the maximum extent allowed under the law."
Any account holder at First National Bank of Brookfield who notices suspicious transaction activities are asked to call 708-485-2770 or call the 24-hour After Hours Card Notification Center at 800-472-3272.