Will entering your PIN backwards at an ATM call police?

Created: 12/16/2013 10:57 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A young man who was robbed at an Albuquerque ATM is asking KOB Eyewitness News 4 to check out a rumor.

He heard if you're in trouble at an ATM and you punch in your PIN backwards, police will be notified.

It's an interesting idea.

Sam Garcia says he'll never look at the ATM quite the same after what happened to him last week.

The 20-year-old UNM freshman was held up at a Bank of America ATM on Wednesday.

A man forced Garcia to deposit a fraudulent check, then withdraw against it.

When the shock wore off, Garcia looked into it and found a lot of people get held up at ATMs.

In August, several women were violently robbed.

"We had heard from a family friend of ours that if you entered your pin backward that it would alert the police," Garcia said.

So, KOB went digging online and tracked the rumor to a real man - Illinois inventor Joseph Zingher.

Zingher invented an emergency PIN system almost twenty years ago; software that would call police but allow the transaction to proceed. He contacted hundreds of banks with his potentially life-saving invention.

"Every last one got the door slammed in my face," Zingher said.

No one wanted Zingher's technology.

"The banking industry just doesn't like letting people know how often this happens," Zingher said.

For victims like Garcia, that doesn't sit well.

"I think it would have helped. Things would have turned out differently," Garcia said.

So, the answer to this good question is: The technology exists, but it's not in your ATM.

Zingher hopes banks will admit they need the system. KOB contacted several banks and have not heard back from any of them.

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