Fact-check: Contrary to claims, entering ATM PIN backward won’t alert police
Updated Tuesday May 16 2023
Pakistani Twitter users appear to believe a claim that in case of a robbery at a bank’s ATM, a person can punch in his or her PIN code backwards and the machine will immediately alert the police.
The claim is false.
On May 2, a verified Twitter account wrote that while withdrawing money from an ATM if a robber forces a person to take out money, the person should not resist.
“Just enter your PIN in reverse,” the user added, “For example, if your PIN is 1234, you enter it as 4321. The machine will get stuck halfway through and alert the police without the thief noticing.”
The Twitter user also alleged that each ATM machine had this special signal installed in it to assist a person during a crime.
The tweet had been retweeted over 400 times and liked over 900 times, at the time of writing.
Another Twitter account made a similar claim.
Three commercial banks and two senior police officials have rejected the social media claims.
“It’s completely fake,” the manager of corporate firms of a private bank in Lahore told Geo Fact Check over the phone, asking to not be named. “There is no such mechanism that you enter your PIN in reverse and a warning is issued.”
While a customer service representative at the Habib Bank Limited in Lahore also told Geo Fact Check that there was no such technology at ATMs.
“If you dial the wrong PIN code three consecutive times, the card will actually be deactivated,” she added.
The social media claims were also rejected by a representative at the United Bank Limited.
Geo Fact Check then contacted Mubashir Hassan, the spokesperson of the Punjab Police.
He said that according to provincial laws, all financial institutions, commercial departmental stores, jewelry shops and banks are responsible for their own security, by hiring security guards and installing security cameras.
Taqi Jawad, the public relations officer of Islamabad police, also confirmed that the claim was false.
“No such technology-based system exists regarding ATMs,” the officer told Geo Fact Check through WhatsApp messages.
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