Use Reverse PIN # to Contact Police in ATM Emergency? It's a Hoax!
By David Emery
Netlore Archive: Online rumor claims ATM users can quickly contact police in the event of an attempted robbery by entering their PIN in reverse.
Description: Viral rumor / Forwarded email
Circulating since: Oct. 2006
Status: FALSE (see details below)
Email text contributed by J. Brouse, Dec. 6, 2006:
PIN NUMBER REVERSAL (GOOD TO KNOW)
Email text contributed by P. Enoch, Oct. 14, 2006:
See this important message below.
Analysis: False, for now. Technology exists which would allow ATM users to contact police in an emergency by punching in their PIN (personal identification number) in reverse, but as of this writing it has not yet been implemented anywhere in the United States.
Lawmakers in the states of Kansas and Illinois introduced legislation calling for the institution of reverse-PIN emergency notification systems (also known under the brand name SafetyPIN) in 2004, but the Kansas bill stalled in committee and the Illinois bill was watered down at the behest of the banking industry, making the adoption of the technology purely voluntary which it already was.
Inventor of PIN number reversal system says banks 'in denial'
The inventor of SafetyPIN, Joseph Zingher, claims the banking industry is afraid to admit the growing extent of the crime of ATM robbery. Exact figures are hard to come by because ATM holdups are lumped in with other types of bank robbery in the FBI's annual crime statistics. Of the 8,000 to 12,000 bank robberies per year counted by the FBI over the past 15 years, 3,000 to 4,000 (or just over one-third) were ATM robberies, according to the banking industry. Some crime experts suspect the figure is actually higher.
Bankers, for their part, insist they do acknowledge the problem of ATM crime and recommend that customers exercise due caution and be aware of their surroundings when using automated teller machines.
Sources and further reading:
Why Reverse PIN Is Not in Use
About.com: U.S. Government, 16 May 2014
Technology to Keep You Safe at ATM Machines
WOAI-TV News, 22 September 2006
Why Great Ideas Get Shot Down
Fortune Small Business, 1 February 2006
Inventor, Kansas Senator Back Idea to Thwart ATM Holdups
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 3 April 2005
Banking on ATM Safety
Forbes, 28 January 2004
Last updated: 05/21/14