If somebody grabbed your ATM card, how easy would it be for them to guess your PIN number, and empty your bank account? As easy as 1-2-3-4.

That’s according to security expert Nick Berry – because more than 1 in 10 of us use that sequence as our “secret code.” The next-most popular code numbers are all-ones, followed by all-zeros. That means 20 percent of all accounts can be breached the first time a thief stops at an ATM.

So, why do we go for such obvious numbers? Because they’re easier to remember. Studies show we tend to stick with important dates – think 1776 as well as repeating patterns, or numbers we already know, like our street address or birthday. But those numbers are easy to guess – especially if your wallet’s lost with your ATM card, and the thief has access to the information on your driver’s license.

The biggest problem with PIN numbers is they’re short. There are only 10,000 possible combinations for a 4-digit PIN. It may sound like a lot, but almost a third of them could be guessed in less than 20 tries. So, how can you choose a better a PIN number? Choose a 4-word nonsense phrase - and use your phone’s keypad to convert the first letters into numbers.

For example, the phrase “Most Umpires Can’t See……” becomes 6-8-2-7. Just make sure the phrase you pick doesn’t generate a number like your birthday, or something that’s prominent on your Facebook page.  Because the thief might decide to check it out.