After my last Aadhaar-PAN link frauds article, many readers wanted me to write in detail about Aadhaar and PAN frauds, so this week I will cover cybercrimes using Aadhaar and next week will discuss about PAN Frauds.
As you all know, every citizen of India need to have a Aadhaar card as it is an important identity card and is the basis for everyone from small children to the elderly to avail any of the benefits of government schemes and for doing any business.
While the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has taken many steps to secure Aadhaar, cyber criminals have capitalized on the irresponsibility, laziness, apathy and ignorance of people and organizations using the Aadhaar for verification as a medium to commit many cyber crimes.
How the Aadhaar frauds are carried out :-
Cybercriminal obtains a photo or scan or xerox copy of your Aadhaar card or your fingerprints from you for government scheme benefit, hotel room, job, bank account or loan sanction or your name, age and address verification for KYC. Use that copy to commit the following scams:
- Get a personal loan on your Aadhaar card, which you have to repay.
- They will get the government benefits due to you in their account without your knowledge, thereby you loosing on it.
- In court they give surety in your name for bail, and if the criminal absconds then you will be held responsible.
- It has been reported that one’s land has been sold using his Aadhaar copy without his knowledge.
- Through Aadhaar enabled payments system they withdraw money from your account using your cloned fingerprint
How to protect yourself from such Aadhaar frauds :-
- Do not share the picture of your Aadhaar 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 Aadhaar use driver’s license or voter ID for verification of your name, age or address.
- Check your Aadhaar authentication history report on uidai.gov.in website regularly for unexpected verifications.
- 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.
- You can download Masked Aadhaar copy from UIDAI website and use it for verification.
- Always keep your Aadhaar updated with your current mobile number and e-mail address.
If you are a victim of Aadhaar card fraud :-
Immediately call 1930 cyber helpline or file a complaint at cybercrime.gov.in. Lock your Aadhaar card at uidai.gov.in and file a complaint there. File a complaint against the government or other organizations that have allowed the fraud without proper verification and take legal action against them.
Legal remedies available to the victim :-
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)
- 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.
- section 36 – Penalty for impersonation, section 37 – Penalty for disclosing identity information or section 40 – Penalty for unauthorised use by requesting entity or offline verification-seeking entity under Aadhaar Act 2016, carrying punishment of imprisonment up to 3 years or a fine of Rs. 10,000/1,00,000 or both