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Reverse ATM code as ‘Panic Code’?

August 7, 2010

Around 1 year ago, I had received an e-mail which had the following content.


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. For example if your pin number is 1234 then you would put in 4321. The ATM recognizes that your pin number is backwards from the ATM card you placed in the machine. The machine will still give you the money you requested, but unknown to the robber, the police will be immediately dispatched to help you.

This information was recently broadcasted on TV and it states that it is seldom used because people don’t know it exists.

Please forward this e-mail to your friends whom you care. They may need this information.

As the mail seemed like a ‘Internet Rumor’ to me, I did a bit of research with the help of Google and became sure that the mail is nothing but a part of junk e-mail chain.

Today i received an SMS from one of my friend which had the same content. After receiving it, I decided to write this post with details of the rumor so that people will not be deceived by such fake rumors.

The information passed in such e-mails and SMS is not correct though such technology exists. And probably the existence of such technology has given birth to the rumor. Such a concept was imagined and patented by Joseph Zingher, a Chicago based businessman. He is the inventor and patent holder for the ATM SafetyPIN software. He thought of a model in which in case of emergency if people enters the reverse of the ATM code (he termed it as Safety PIN), it will be treated as ‘panic code’ and it will alert the cops. The idea failed because such a system can not work for palindromic no.s like 1111, 3443, 4004 etc.

Though 2 American states, Illinois and Kansas, moved bills to propose such laws but while the bill of Kansas failed, the bill of  the Illinois was diluted. Another reason why the idea failed is because of the high amount the banks had to spend to install such technology with the ATMs when such ATM crimes are not so abundant.

I hope this post helps you to stop such rumors. If some one forwards such mail or SMS to you, don’t forward them and educate the sender with details of this rumors. Enjoy. 🙂


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