Many of us saw a message on social media claiming that pressing the CANCEL button twice before swiping your ATM card would save your PIN from being stolen.

The message we saw on floating around Facebook this month said something like this:

Always press ‘cancel’ button twice before inserting the card in ATM machine. If anyone has set up the keypad to steal your PIN code, this will cancel that setup. Please make it a habit and part of every transaction that you make. Please share with those about whom you care.

Well, according to Snopes it's a bunch of nonsense and says it didn't even originate from an authoritative or reputable source like a bank or the police. The most common methods for capturing account information and PINs via compromised ATMs according to Snopes is:

1) The installation of a false front on an ATM.
2) The installation of a card “skimmer” (i.e., a device attached to a card reader slot which copies information).
3) The installation of a “Lebanese loop” (i.e., a small plastic device with a barb that holds a card back in the machine).

Hands on Banking offers ATM security tips to prevent ATM fraud:

  • When you’re by yourself, avoid using an ATM in out-of-the-way or deserted areas.
  • Use ATMs located inside banks or supermarkets where other people are around.
  • Use ATMs in well-lit, public areas.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when withdrawing funds. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, come back later or use another ATM.
  • If it looks like someone has tampered with the ATM equipment, don’t use it. (This could mean that a criminal has attached a “skimmer” to the ATM to steal your financial information.) If a suspicious person offers to help you use the ATM, refuse and leave.
  • When typing in your pin, cover the keypad so others can’t see.
  • After completing your transaction, remember to remove your card, cash and any printed documents such as receipts or statements.
  • Put your money and ATM card away before you leave the ATM. Always avoid showing your cash. Always verify that the amount you withdrew or deposited matches the amount printed on your receipt.
  • Take your receipts with you so potential criminals will not know how much you withdrew or how much money is in your account.
  • When using a drive-up ATM, keep your car doors locked and your engine running.