One in ten have the same ATM password

ATMSmartphone code, email password, ATM code – the list goes on for the volume of codes we need to juggle on a daily basis. We recently warned on the dangers of a predictable email password, with 123456 topping the list.

However, the numerical sequence, or at least part of it, has once again risen its head in terms of security breaches.

A recent report on Data Genetics has revealed that 1234 is the most likely ATM code, with nearly 11% likely to use it. The report revealed that there are 10,000 possible permutations of four digits which are suitable for ATM codes. Around 3.4m codes were accessible online, and of this, 1234 appeared over a tenth of the time, with 1111 (6%) taking second place, and 0000 (1.88%) third. The top 20 codes were revealed on the blog, and according to the research, represent around 26.83% of all possible ATM codes. The least likely code, perhaps prior to being revealed in the article, was 8068.

Safe code

There was £29.3m withdrawn fraudulently from cash machines in 2011, so it's a very real issue for UK consumers. If your ATM code appears on the list, don't panic. Unless your card is stolen or has been skimmed, it's unlikely to be of use to thieves. It would be worth considering a change to a less common code (though perhaps not 8068), that is tougher to guess.

It's also important to brush up on good ATM etiquette. There are some tips below from LINK, the UK's cash machine network, on how to avoid falling victim to cash machine fraud. One of the key points is protecting your PIN, and the video below from LINK was fitted by fraudsters and highlights the importance shielding your code.

Avoiding cash machine fraud

1. Protect your PIN

• The simplest step of all to minimise the chances of falling victim to fraud is to shield the keypad when you enter your PIN. This will protect your PIN from a shoulder-surfer, and also if a criminal has set up a hidden camera that is filming the keypad.
• Some losses at UK cash machines are still, unfortunately, the result of PINs being written down and kept in a purse or wallet. So, the other important advice remains: 'never write down your PIN'.

2. Choosing a cash machine

• Be aware of others around you. If someone close to the cash machine is behaving suspiciously, or makes you feel uncomfortable, go to another machine.
• If you suspect that a skimming device has been attached to a cash machine, inform staff within the bank or, if this is not possible, inform the police.

3. Using a cash machine

• Be aware of your surroundings. If someone starts crowding or watching you, cancel the transaction, preferably before you've entered your PIN, and go to another machine.
• Stand close to the cash machine and always shield the keypad effectively, for example by using your free hand, to avoid anyone seeing you enter your PIN.
• If your card gets jammed or retained by the machine report this as soon as possible to your card issuer.

If you are a victim of card fraud you are protected through legislation, which states that you will not be liable for losses unless you have acted fraudulently or without reasonable care.

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