HOUSTON - From an ATM, can you alert police by typing your pin number in backwards? A viewer reached out to the KHOU Verify team on Facebook asking if the claim was true.

A post circulating on Facebook says that if you are being forced by a thief to take money out of an ATM, just enter your pin number backwards and the machine will automatically call police and take a picture of the robber. Here's what our Verify fact-checkers found out:

  • The post has been circulated since 2006 and while the idea is out there, that's all it is - an idea
  • Starting in 2009, the Federal Trade Commission researched technology that could help people if they're being robbed at an ATM but later the commission released a report nixing the idea, saying it wouldn't be a real deterrent to crime
  • Also, the FTC said in some cases, it may actually put customers in more danger.
  • The FTC said that implementing this kind of technology at every single ATM would be extremely expensive

So, as far as the post about pin numbers, police and ATMs is concerned - we can Verify it is FALSE.

VERIFY: Sources

Federal Trade Commission


Help our journalists VERIFY the news. Do you know someone else we should interview for this story? Did we miss anything in our reporting? Is there another story you'd like us to VERIFY? Click here.