Illinois CUs See Problems In 'Reverse PIN' ATM Security Plan

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Illinois Credit Union League officials said that new legislation aimed at frustrating ATM bandits may actually put its victims in danger.

Keith Sias, Director, State Governmental Affairs, ICUL, said he is not recommending that credit unions equip their ATMs with technology that allegedly summons police when a pin number is punched in in reverse order.

The legislation was prompted after a woman in Gurney, Ill., was kidnapped and driven to several ATM locations where she was forced by her attackers to withdraw cash.

Sias said league representatives were adamantly opposed to the first version of the bill that asked state legislators to "mandate'' that all ATMs be equipped with this equipment.

"We don't believe it's a good idea or that it will even work,'' Sias said. "In fact, we think it could have the opposite effect-actually putting people in danger if they can't get the money out.''

Besides that, he said, most people already have trouble remembering their PIN-imagine the pressure of having to recall it backwards.

"And even if you could do that, how quickly would it take for the main processor that determines where a person has enough money in their account to pinpoint the exact location and get the 911 call in.''

He said that somewhere, a remote switch would have to be triggered.

There is one person who purports to have a patent on such technology, Sias said the league's operations team is "skeptical that its even possible.''

And, even if the technology does exist, he said, the costs could be astronomical.

During testimony to move the legislation, Sias said, he heard of no hardcore statistics that occurrences by ATMs bandits would warrant it.

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