A topic that has been heavily debated in the country recently is the linking of Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN). Government had issued direction to link Aadhaar and PAN by March 31 else pay Rs 1000 to reactivate the deactivated PAN card, now deadline extended till June 30. If not linked, PAN card will be deactivated and your banking transactions will be hit, also people were worried because they have to pay 10% more tax while paying income tax. So, capitalizing on the fear that has arisen in the last few days of march, fraudsters have committed various types of cyber crimes in the pretext of helping them to link Aadhar with PAN.
How the Aadhar PAN link fraud is carried out :-
You will get an sms or whatsapp message – “Please call this number to link Aadhaar and PAN otherwise your PAN card will be deactivated”. Are you scared and call the given number, the person who received the call will whatsapp their Aadhaar and PAN card images to his mobile number claiming to be a government official and help them in matching. Then he gets the OTP from you and cheats you in the following way:
- They say processing fee is 300 to 1000 rupees and UPI is done for their number.
- He opens a new bank account using your Aadhaar and PAN card, and uses it for money laundering, and you get caught in the police investigation.
- Apply your Aadhaar and PAN card to get a loan or credit card, which you have to repay.
- You will have to answer the big amount of money stolen by fraudsters using your PAN card.
To protect yourself from Aadhaar PAN link frauds :-
- Use www.incometax.gov.in website to link Aadhaar and PAN. Pairing via call or in other websites is not possible.
- Do not share the picture of your Aadhaar and PAN card with anyone, if you have to share, share image of photocopy of it and write the reason for giving with date of application.
- Instead of Aadhar and PAN use driver’s license or voter ID for verification of your name, age or address.
- Check your CIBIL report and AIS report on incometax website regularly for unexpected transactions.
- Do lock biometric verification of your Aadhaar card on the Aadhaar website and unlock it whenever you want.
- You can generate Aadhaar card virtual ID on Aadhaar website and use it for verification and then change it after verification.
- If you had applied for PAN after getting Aadhar, linking again may not be required.
If you are a victim of Aadhar or PAN card fraud :-
Immediately call 1930 Cyber Helpline number or file a complaint at cybercrime.gov.in. Lock your Aadhaar card at uidai.gov.in. File a complaint and take legal action against the bank that opened the account or gave the loan or credit card.
Remedies available to borrower legally :-
One can register a criminal case in cyber police station under section 419 (punishment for cheating by impersonation) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of Indian Penal Code(IPC) or under section 43 (Penalty and compensation for damage to computer, computer system, etc), section 66 (punishment for computer related offences – a person committing data theft, transmitting virus into a system, destroying data, hacking, or denying access to the computer or network to an authorized person is imprisoned for a maximum of 3 years or a fine of 5 lakh rupees or both), section 66C(which prescribes penalties for identity theft and states that anyone who fraudulently or dishonestly uses a person’s identity information will be subject to imprisonment up to 3 years and a fine of up to 3 lakh rupees) and Section 66D (punishment for fraud by impersonation using computer resources) under of the Information Technology Act(IT) Act 2000 .
References and Links :-
- https://www.uidai.gov.in/ – aadhar website. where you can lock, unlock and generate virtual aadhar id
- https://www.incometax.gov.in/ – Income Tax website, where you can link aadhar and PAN.
- https://www.pan.utiitsl.com/ – PAN website
- https://cybercrime.gov.in/ – Cybercrime helpline portal where you can lodge a complaint