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20 Bank PIN Numbers Most Likely to Be Hacked: Are You in Danger of Having Money Stolen?

by Linda Sharps on September 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM

I don't use a debit card very often these days, but when I do I almost always have to spent several moments staring off into space trying to remember my PIN. Unless it's something stupidly easy, numerical passwords slip my mind far more easily than letter-based ones do.

Based on a recent study from the tech consultancy company DataGenetics, I'm not the only one who has trouble with these numeric passcodes. DataGenetics looked at almost 3.4 million four-digit passwords ("condensed from released/exposed/discovered password tables and security breaches") and found that out of the 10,000 possible combinations that the digits 0-9 can be arranged to form a four-digit password, the most common PIN is ...

1234. Yes, really.

If your PIN number is too predictable, it obviously puts you at a target for hackers and thieves -- so you might want to make sure your password isn't anywhere near the top of this list.

Here are the top 20 passwords that account for nearly 27 percent of those 3.4 million PINs studied:

As you can see, the vast majority of people choose numbers that fall into easily-remembered patterns. Why use up valuable brain-space with a random sequence of digits when you can just mash the 2 button a bunch of times, right?

WRONG. If it's that easy for you to remember, it's that easy for a data-or-money-stealing jerkface to figure it out. Mashable recently reported that if a marginally clever thief were to steal enough wallets, he or she would be able to successfully access a bank account with every 10th victim, assuming the cards within came from banks that allow you to choose your own PIN.

So! Long story short: stop using easy numbers for your password. If you're having trouble coming up with a truly random PIN, try one of these ideas:

• Create it from a word. Use the numbers/letters on a phone keypad to come up with a four-letter word you'll remember.

• Base it on a significant date. But not, say, your birth year. Get creative -- maybe your birth month plus your kid's? Your anniversary year plus 8008, because haaa, boob?

• Use a fake cell number. This one's a bit risky considering your phone might be stolen someday, but you could make a fictitious contact with the PIN hidden in the fake number. Just don't name it Passwordia VonRememberMe.

Did you have any idea this many people use such common PINs?

Image via catatronic/Flickr

Filed Under: news


  • jessi...


    September 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    mix it up

  • cassi...


    September 20, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    My pin used to be the year I got my first horse, not even my parents could remember that one! But my 2nd pin was given to me by the bank.

  • Heath...


    September 20, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Wow. That is scary. Luckily my pin is a word :)

  • EmmaF...


    September 20, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    ....i laughed at 6969. I'm clearly too immature to be classed as an adult.

  • SuzyB...


    September 20, 2012 at 1:30 PM
    I even think its good to change it every so often.
  • dixie...


    September 20, 2012 at 1:37 PM
    Glad to see my PIN isn't on there!
  • mello...


    September 20, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    I cannot believe that so many people still use 1234.  

  • Julie...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Julie Petrenko

    September 20, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Last 4 digits of your SSN

  • Rosal...
    -- Nonmember comment from


    September 20, 2012 at 4:04 PM
    Glad my pin was not in there. First time I had a bank card (ages ago) the banker told me to pick a pin that would be hard for other to guess. I went in the very next day to the same banker and told him that my pin was so hard to guess that even I couldn't remember what it was! Now with so many pins and passwords to remember...I still end up having to contact customer service! Makes me feel so old.
  • Star
    -- Nonmember comment from


    September 20, 2012 at 5:57 PM
    "That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!"
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