News or Noise: Is there a secret ATM code to contact 911?

June 21, 2017 11:25 PM

Being forced to withdraw money from your bank account for a criminal -- it's a scary situation that we pray we're never in.

But can the information in social media posts keep you safe? One post we saw says: "If you should ever be forced by a robber to withdraw money from an ATM machine, you can notify the police by entering your PIN # in reverse."

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It goes on to claim: "The machine will still give you the monies you requested, but unknown to the robber the police will be immediately dispatched to help you."

Your friends are coming from a good place by sharing these posts, but unfortunately this will NOT help you in an emergency. According to this 2010 FTC report, "the respondent banks reported that none of their ATMs currently have installed, or have ever had installed, an emergency-PIN system of any sort."

The reverse pin system was actually patented in 1998 by a Chicago businessman. However he had little success getting the banking community on board. Why? Going back to that FTC report - "available information suggests the system: (1) may not halt or deter crimes to any significant extent; (2) may in some instances increase the danger to customers and lead to false alarms and (3) may impose substantial implementation costs."

So the next time you see this claim on social media, don't share it because it's noise.


Jennifer Mobilia

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