How precious is your BlackBerry PIN?

By Ryan Blundell on 13 Jun 2011 11:23 am EDT

How precious is your BlackBerry PIN

For quite a while now, we’ve seen BlackBerry ads focusing on the power of BBM. One that stands out is what many like to call BBM Flirt. I don’t know if it’s me, but I couldn’t see myself walking up to a complete stranger and asking for their PIN (I know my wife would have something to say about it). As soon as I think about that, I then wonder how many times I’ve added someone from the BlackBerry community to BBM and I have never even met them. I think many of us are like that. We use BBM to keep in touch with colleagues, friends and family –people that we’ve come to know and trust in some way or another. The idea of someone I don’t really know, having something, as unique as my BlackBerry PIN, scares me; especially if I was single. What if it didn’t work out? Sure you could delete them from BlackBerry Messenger, and ignore future invitations, but they can still send PIN to PIN messages (very creepy). It’s easier (and more cost effective) to switch phone numbers than to buy a new BlackBerry.

“Swapping PINs is like Can We Talk?”

That’s one of the lines from the BlackBerry commercials- you can check it out below. Now granted, I do see the point they are trying to make. Chatting through BBM is more thrilling than via text. You can see when the other person has received and read the message. You can also see when they are typing. Depending on how they have their Messenger set up, you can also see their status, image and what they are listening to. It forces you into a conversation, but also keeps it positive.

BlackBerry Messenger 1st gen

It’s also become so easy to get onto BBM. Think about it, back when the BlackBerry Messenger icon was a smiling blond haired guy, “mypin” wouldn’t automatically display the pin, nor was there the ability to simply scan a barcode. These days, it’s hard not to trip over the plethora of Facebook groups, forum threads and even profiles begging for someone, anyone to add them to BBM. Hell, you can even create a BBM barcode on your Facebook account. Sure, Aunt Ethel is a hoot, but do you really want her on BBM? I even came across a website called SearchBBM where, as you may have guessed, you can search for any BlackBerry users who have registered with the site. You can search by name, location, and gender; you are then presented with a list of potential BlackBerry Messenger contacts to invite into your world. What are these people trying to do? Are they trying to beat Kevin’s BlackBerry Messenger Stress Test?

For me, I consider my BBM a way to connect to a select few, those I know, respect and trust. If I wanted to connect with anyone else, I could always use something less unique, like Windows Live Messenger. On the flip side, that probably would have been considered just as unique at one point, as well. Is BBM in danger of becoming thought of as yet another free for all chat option? Depends on how you treat it.


As with chat rooms, instant messengers and such, you run the risk of letting in some undesirable people. How do you know who you are really chatting with? How many times have we heard of people posing as a minor to chat with other minors (or want to do more than chat)? How often has the word Stalker been seen with the words, chatting or IM in the media? How do I know that I’m actually chatting with Adam and not some crazed lunatic looking for his/her next victim (wait, that could be Kevin too). As I mentioned before, once they have your PIN it’s not that easy to block; and not everyone has the money to go and buy another BlackBerry.

Now there is always an upside as well. Some friendships develop over time on BBM, especially when you don’t have the opportunity to see them for long periods. Some may also find safety in BBM, as you may not feel comfortable enough to meet them in person just yet. It provides a sense of intimacy, as it gives off that good old fashioned private chat room feel. Look at our own Bla1ze and Michelle. Not to go into too much gushy detail, but BBM let their relationship develop and blossom into what it is today. An "inside source" tells me that they usually don't like to share their PINs with just anyone. They took their chance. They found love. In a different type of relationship, Bla1ze once suggested to Isaac that he and I would get along. BBM helped us work on our bromance, which in turn allowed our families to become great friends as well. He hasn't turned out to be a serial killer - that or he has yet to have the opportunity to stuff me in a trunk of a car and push it into the river.

In my opinion, you have three options, keep it secure with a few people, keep it within your trusted social/professional network, or share it with the world. Keep in mind that it isn’t always easy to switch in between. What it comes down to is trust. Who do you trust, how far can you trust them and do you trust yourself?

Reader comments

How precious is your BlackBerry PIN?


very nice article!
i dont share my pin with random people as i dont really want to talk to them if i dont know them, however i have used it to get in touch with and share ideas with other bb devs and so it is good with that!

bbm is probably a good way to start random flirting with people as you have some thing in common straight away, but it may lead to more problems than benefits :)

I'm not sharin' my PIN also except real friends and some BB bosses :) But if someone shares my pin to anybody without askin me I'm deletin both and ignore. As it says its my "PERSONAL" Identification Number and it musnt be shared w/out askin permission. Yeap its good to use BBM but because of read notifications it force you to answer anybody on your list. So getting my list clean is important for me :)

My BB pin is the easiest and best way to communicate for me. I only share it with those I know or want to know. However, I treat groups more relaxed, it helps other digital media designers like myself, network, so I dont mind sharing the group with random people. BBM, I dont know what I would do without it. PING! ;)

Awesome article! I completely agree that the PIN should be used with those you know with the primary concern being that it is locked to your BlackBerry, thus changing PIN means buying a new phone. Glad to see I'm not the only one that uses their PIN frugally.

I have traded pins with so many random people at conventions or shows, concerts, clubs. It is so social and isn't really tied to any personal info

I don't even share my business email address as liberally and I hand out more than 1000 business cards a year.

BBM has replaced asking for phone numbers. If a girl doesn't have a blackberry she automatically drops 2 on the hotness scale just due to the added work to chat.

Lucky a vast majority of the trade show going booth staff are bb owners still

Lol where were u guys with this blocking PINs knowledge last year?! Let's just say I could have really used you....lmao

:) there's two ways of doing it, first is to delete a bbm contact within bbm, when you delete them you'll be asked if you want to ignore future requests, tick that box. Deleting a contact also deletes you from that contact's bbm as well as all chats you might've had.
If however they took a note of your pin they could still send you direct pin messages. Now you go to firewall and you block them.

Doesn't get safer then that.

I totally agree with you. You can BLOCK PINs. BBM is much better than handing out your cell #. You can't block text messages w/o dealing with the phone company.

You can with some blacklist apps. Get an option to block calls, texts, both and even send an automatic reply. Atleast on android you can.

I only BBM with family and friends, and the occasional person I don't know personally but with whom I've chatted and who I happen to like on forums, such as here. I've only given out my email address to forum people twice.

I keep my PIN close... However, my friend has started getting a lot of random BBM requests. She does not share her pin and none of her contacts would have shared her pin for her. I'm looking into how to make the requests stop.

I give my pin to friends, co workers and customers who are new to blackberry.. I work for t-mobile and I am constantly getting RIM new bb customers showing them how awesome bb is and all it can do.. If they have any questions I set them up on bbm and add my self as a contact its a great way to keep your customers and keep them with a blackberry! Plus I get great referrals that way as well!


That is a very good idea, and as you said, it's a great way to keep and to also build your customer base.

I like using BBM especially to message my wife. It is a bit of a pain that it isn't cross platform and I have to use different meesengers for friends with non BB phones. I'm glad I don't upgrade phones very often because the PIN is locked to a specific phone and I have to update everyone with my new PIN whenever I change phones.

When you back up and restore bbm to a new device it does all the transferring for you automatically. I always back up and restore via email.

Not sure about giving it to someone that I don't know at all (met, chat, talked to, or otherwise), but I also don't reserve it for the best of the best. I just don't know many people to give it to. I have 8 on my list and of those, I only regularly BBM with 1 of them. 2 others about 1 conversation per week, another 2 about one conversation bi-weekly. Another about 1 time each month, finally another 2 about once every other month.

At the same time, I don't give my IM name or emails to anyone that I wouldn't give my BBM to. So its not so much that adding people to my BBM is for the elite, but that I don't know many people with BB's to add them. That or I just don't see the need to. I would likely share it with ones here.

"He hasn't turned out to be a serial killer - that or he has yet to have the opportunity to stuff me in a trunk of a car and push it into the river. " - Very nice!

Great article! I'm also more conservative with my PIN. I usually keep it to close friends my family and now my girlfriend (got her a Torch a few month back) GREAT for picture messaging (if you know what I mean...)

I don't give out my pin or my number easily, even to people I've met in person. I've had people say "I want to get to know you, pin/text me", but to me, it's just as easy to get to know someone thru pm's, facebook messages, etc...THEN if after maybe 6 months- a year you haven't displayed any psychotic tendencies, you may POSSIBLY get my number.

I am coming from the Windows Mobile world and honestly I never understood BBM and the PIN usage. All friends I have on gtalk, facebook or other social networking clients. For the business I am using text messages and e-mails. Most of my colleagues do not have BB, neither Windows Mobile, mostly they have some Android or Symbian. So sharing my PIN is like to share my TV remote serial number - nothing to hide. On the other side I understand, that this should be something kept private, so I am not sharing it. :-)

I'd rather share a PIN than have to change the only mobile phone number I've ever had. Seriously, it would be worth the money to buy a new Blackberry if it came to that versus losing contact with old friends that I may not talk to very often, but have had my phone number for years. When you add in all the utility companies and businesses, doctors, auto shops, etc, changing phones instead of numbers doesn't sound so bad... especially if you have insurance and your phone "accidentally" ends up in your beer lol

It used to be most people used their home phone numbers for all these things, but a lot of people don't even have land lines anymore. I only have one for my DSL account, and I don't even have a phone hooked to it. No idea if anyone ever calls it.

Great article but it missed mentioning CB as another way to share your pin with random people. I share my pin with friends and family. I have also posted my PIN on CB and its easier to block those people that you don't want to talk to.

I share my pin with pretty much anyone who goes through the trouble of asking for it. While I mainly have friends that I know and trust on it, I do have a few handfuls of random people which I enjoy chatting with from time to time. (Mainly on my lunch hour at work, Nothing else to do might as well open up BBM and see who's online)

It's also easy to remove and keep yourself protected from unwanted messages.. somewhat. if you start being harassed by late messages, spam, and just generally rude people they can be blocked with the firewall. There really is no harm in adding someone. Plus when you add someone, both people have access to each others pins. So why risk starting a flame war.

And best of all I trust the crackberry site enough to post my pin on here for the world to see, 26055E9E If you choose to add me don't expect fast replies. While I do spend a lot of time on my phone most of my time is spent working, and hanging out in real life which does not require my phone. *sigh, guess I should add the horrible generic asl if I'm posting my pin 23m near vancouver*

I agree completely! If I wanted to chat with "strangers" I could create a name on AIM or Yahoo messenger to chat., or one of the many other "chat" programs out there. My pin is protected as I don't want to change my phone # or spend the money on a new blackberry should I encounter someone evil. :-)

I don't think it's any worse than giving out your primary email address, just as much if not more hassle to change that.

I've had the same email address for my entire adult life,
In have had 8 PIN's in the last 3 years as "primary" PIN's
it is far easier to change ones PIN, and less costly than to change ones primary email address.

Greta article although I don't share the same sentiment about it being more cost effective to change your number rather then your Blackberry. I am sure most of us have more contacts then BBM contacts and to inform all of them would be an extremely tedious and frustrating task. Well in my part of the world it would be!

IMO you are, I have made some great friends over BBM, and maintained family ties with people across the country because of BBM, it is a mini social network, takes far less to maintain than a twitter or facebook account, but can provide similar connectivity with those who you have on BBM.

IF you don't really send many SMS or don't really use instant message application, you probably are not missing much, but if you use them, and you have a small friendbase with Blackberry's add them to BBM and start seeing what the fuss is about.

heck try the PIN share forum here at Crackberry

You are definitely missing out if you haven't used BBM. BBM is still the gold standard in proprietary mobile messengers. Of course there are drawbacks if many of your friends are using other smart phones (non BB) you'll need to find a cross platform messenger.

Hey everyone. This was a very interesting article here, and I enjoyed reading what everyone had to say here so far. I wanted to contribute to this also.

I'm new to BB (had it since Feb) and I have a total of 14 BBM contacts. I'm also a member of several *small* groups.

I have made some good friends on BBM (especially from some of the CB Help forums) and it has really been a huge value and asset to me.

While I really enjoy talking with people and making new friends, I know I have to be careful about my PIN. While it is visible in my profile, I only post in areas where I know I won't be spammed.

Also, thanks to belfastdispatcher, who so graciously told us about the firewall trick to block PINs, I now have a way to block spammers, should that situation every arise.

Anyways, that's my story. Have a great day all!