Press cancel button twice before inserting your card in ATM to prevent PIN theft
No such warning by credible organisation, pressing cancel twice does not prevent PIN theft
A message has gone viral on Whatsapp recently, purportedly of an advisory from a banker to press the cancel button twice before inserting the card in an ATM. According to the advisory, this precaution will prevent any scammer’s scheme to steal the ATM PIN. We have received this claim on our Whatsapp tipline (+91 9999499044), requesting it to be fact-checked.
Newschecker noticed that the viral forward is not attributed to any credible organisation, but just a “banker”, raising our doubts over its authenticity.
We then ran a keyword search using the words “ATM cancel button twice”, which led us to multiple news reports from previous years, stating that the “warning” is false. We learnt that the same message had gone viral as an advisory from RBI. The news reports can be seen here, here and here. The reports led us to a PIB Fact Check tweet, dated June 10, 2021, stating that the post “falsely attributed” to RBI on how to prevent ATM pin theft was fake and not issued by RBI. The tweet lists out two precautions to keep transactions secure: one, conduct the transfer in privacy and two, do not write PIN on card.
Taking a cue from this, we looked up RBI’s FAQs regarding ATMs from its website. We went through the do’s and don’ts on how to keep transactions secure, but could not find any point stating that pressing the cancel button would prevent PIN theft.
We also learnt that the viral Whatsapp forward has been a recurring “advisory” across multiple countries and has been consequently debunked. According to this Politifact article, dated January 22, 2019, Dr Vassil Roussev, a professor of computer science at the University of New Orleans, said that many designs, particularly keypad overlays, which attaches a fake keyboard over an ATMs real one, may record everything that is pressed, so pressing cancel twice or 50 times would make zero difference. Similarly, Manipal Technologies Limited, India’s largest bank card manufacturer, told AFP that it was not necessary to press ‘cancel’ twice to protect from fraud.
We have reached out to Sanjay Shintre IPS, Maharashtra cyber, superintendent of police, who confirmed that the advisory is fake.
There is no such official advisory that states pressing the cancel button twice would protect you from ATM PIN fraud, nor is it possible.
PIB Fact Check tweet, June 10, 2021
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