Does Entering Your PIN Backward Call The Police?

There is a popular urban myth that says entering your PIN backwards into an  ATM machine will trigger a silent alarm and automatically notify the police.  The legend encourages people to do this if they are ever being robbed at an ATM.

While this may sound like a great security feature on ATM machines, it simply isn't true.

Making a safe visit to an ATM machine is vitally important. There are some good common sense precautions when using ATM machines to ensure your safety and security.

Know Your Surroundings

Be mindful of your surroundings when using an ATM machine.  Whether you're on foot or in a vehicle, make sure you are in a well lit area and are mindful of what is going on around you.  Use the mirror built into ATM machines to keep an eye over your shoulder at all times.

Don't Use ATMs For Large Transactions

It is not a good idea to withdraw or deposit large amounts of money from an ATM. Make these larger transactions inside the bank where there are more people and security.

Don't Use ATMs In Areas You Aren't Comfortable

A significant number of people use an ATM machine when away from home and in need of money. Make sure you are familiar with the neighborhood where the ATM is located. Many times, you may stand out when you are new to an area, and thieves watch for people like this.

Use ATMs With Other People

It is helpful to go to the ATM with a friend to make sure you are safe, especially at night or in areas that are not busy. This will help ensure your safety when using the ATM machine.

ATMs are a great resource for getting access to your financial accounts. But use common sense. Make sure to use them safely.

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The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 6, 2012. For up-to-date information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.
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About Lynn Oldshue

Lynn Oldshue has written personal finance stories for for twelve years. She majored in public relations at Mississippi State University.