Fact checked: The myth of ATM reverse PIN

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A post has been doing rounds for years now and has resurfaced again on social media.
The post suggests that if you sense any danger while withdrawing cash then punching in your PIN in reverse will summon the police.
“दुनिया के गजब तत्थ
जब कोई लुटेरा आपको जबरदस्ती ATM से पैसे निकालने के लिए कहे तो आप उसके साथ बहस न करे Card का पासवर्ड उल्टा भर दे । Ex. अगर पासवर्ड 1234 है तो 4321 भर दो फिर पैसे मशीन के सलाट में फास जाएगे और Automatically पुलिस को call चली जाएगी ! उतना समय लुटेरे को बातो मे लगाए और पुलिस आपको लूट से बचा लेगी । हर ATM में यह फंक्शनक है। इस बात शेयर करके सभी तक पहुचा दे।” The post read
(Translation: If you are being robbed as you withdraw cash from an ATM, do not fight back. Simply input your PIN code in reverse – for example, dial 4321 instead of 1234. As you do this, the ATM will secretly alert the police and make the machine appear to be malfunctioning. Till the time police come, engage the robbers.
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At the time of filing the report, the above post had around 1,400 shares.


When NewsMobile fact-checked the claim, we found it to be fake.
First, we went to different ATMs to check the claim. After putting the PIN in reverse order, the message we got was that the pin was incorrect. However, we waited for a few minutes at each ATM for the police to arrive, but to no avail.
We also found an article published in The Economic Times on November 02, 2011, stating that this urban legend is a hoax.

We found another article on Kaspersky dated November 16, 2015, explaining the possible origin of this hoax.
As per the article, Joseph Zinger 1994 filed a petition for this software. “Zinger offered to render a reversed PIN as an emergency call from the bank to the police. Palindromic sequences like 9119, which are read both ways, were not supposed to be used as PIN codes at all.” the article read.

Another article published in Dawn states that in 2004, legislation was passed in the state of Illinois requesting banks to use the said technology, though it is not a requirement.
According to a Business Insider article, in a 2010 report by the US Federal Trade Commission did not find any such technology installed in the ATMs.
All the above information proves that this claim is fake and should not be circulated further.

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