A popular post on Facebook says “a banker” has a “very useful tip” for “withdrawing funds from an ATM”:
“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,” the message reads.
The problem is that the “tip” is useless.
‘Cancel’ just interrupts a transaction already in progress
“The ‘cancel’ button on the ATM has the sole job of interrupting the transaction, to abort the transaction in the event it is being transmitted to the bank for authorisation,” Fidelis Muia, director of technical services at the Kenya Bankers Association, told Africa Check.
The association has 12 real tips on safety and security for PINs, passwords and other financial information. These include not sharing your PIN or password, covering the keypad while you enter the PIN, and only entering the PIN when the machine tells you to.
“The ‘cancel’ button has no effect on the PIN entry mechanism and pressing it will in no way affect the PIN or its entry,” Muia said.
Banks freely give out security information
And finally, why would an anonymous banker feel obliged to offer a tip the banks themselves hadn’t?
“Any security tips from banks to their customers are provided by the banks themselves and there are no hidden ‘tips’ that staff would have that are not given to the customer base,” Muia said.
There are many ways to deal with ATM fraud, but pressing “cancel” twice is a waste of time – and plain nonsense.
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.