Inputting your personal identification number (PIN) back-to-front into automatic teller machines (ATMs) does not alert the police that you are being forced to withdraw money, the Changhua County Police Department said yesterday.
According to police, the rumor — which is currently being circulated on the Internet — began abroad in 2006 and had spread to Taiwan by 2007.
US lawyer Joseph Zingher patented software he called ATM Safety PIN, which would act as a duress code that customers could use if they were forced to withdraw money.
Zingher attempted to persuade banks and financial institutes to use his system over a period of 10 years, but no banks have employed his invention.
Zingher said in 2006 on CNN program Money with Joshua Hyatt: “They [the banks] know customers are scared of ATM crime, so the banks don’t want to talk about the problem.”
The software, if implemented, would have invalidated PIN codes such as “8888” or “2112,” which are the same even when entered in reverse, the Changhua police department said.
The police department confirmed with the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) that the information is a hoax, adding that people should be aware of false information on the Internet.
The police also called on people to remain alert when withdrawing money at ATMs and to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior, or objects, adding that ATMs in dark or remote areas should be avoided late at night.
Travel in groups when using such ATMs the police said, adding that citizens can call the 110 hotline to ask for police protection when withdrawing large sums of money.
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