Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - At least two Rochester financial institutions were recently hit by thieves who installed skimmers on their ATMs.

Premier Bank notified police October 22nd after finding one of the devices on an ATM at its branch located at Greenview Place SW. It was apparently discovered before any illegal transactions took place.

That wasn’t the case with First Alliance Credit Union. It notified police Monday that some accounts had been compromised.The initial report indicates the illegal withdrawals totaled about $17,000. An investigation found a skimming device had been installed on an ATM at the First Alliance site located on 16th St SE October 21st.

Police suspect those involved are not from the Rochester area. Investigators are examining surveillance recordings from both sites to see if the suspect can be identified.

Individuals with information are asked to call Crime Stoppers, 1-800-222-TIPS.

These skimming devices are placed over an ATM’s card slot. They capture a customer’s account information when a card is inserted into the ATM by reading the magnetic strip. Some thieves also use small hidden cameras that record a customer’s PIN.

The information is then used to make a bogus card, giving the thief access to machines anywhere in the country.

Losses blamed on these devices - which have also been installed on fuel pumps at convenience stores -are estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

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