Aadhaar is one of the most powerful instruments in India today. UIDAI has generated 1.21 billion Aadhaar cards till date and has covered more than 95% of the Indian population. With the scale of information stored in the database of UIDAI, it has become the most substantial treasure. However, the Aadhaar Act prevents any organisation to access this confidential data in totality. Even UIDAI, which is responsible to store all data and manage it, is not authorised to access it. It shows how concerned the institution is to prevent Aadhaar frauds.
The government knows the importance of this data and is thus taking various steps to protect it from getting breached. It employs multi-level security controls and protocols to prevent the leakage of information during any attempt of security breach or hacking. However, as an informed citizen, it is also our responsibility to protect our Aadhaar data from our end.
A number of cases have come to the forefront where people were duped of their hard-earned money through malicious activities using their Aadhaar details. This happens because people are not well-informed about Aadhaar and security measures they should follow. In this article, we will discuss about ways through which we can prevent Aadhaar frauds from our end if we follow some simple measures.
Mobile and Email Registration for OTP
Aadhaar authentication is making availing various facilities online easy and quick. It is a process in which an OTP is sent to the mobile number registered with Aadhaar for authentication. You have to enter this OTP to avail facilities for which Aadhaar authentication is being carried out. You should first and foremost register your mobile number with Aadhaar. Ensure that you do not share the OTP received on your mobile number with anyone in any case.
There are cases where people get calls from unknown people asking about the OTP received on their mobile number. You should never divulge the OTP details to them. You invite such people to carry out fraudulent activities in case you share this OTP with them.
Another way to prevent such activities is by using the TOTP (Time-based OTP) feature. This feature allows people to use the TOTP generated in their mAadhaar app for authentication instead of OTP.
When you lose your mobile number registered with Aadhaar, you should update your mobile number linked with Aadhaar with the new number to prevent people from using the Aadhaar authentication feature.
Aadhaar Biometric Locking
Aadhaar card contains your biometric details such as photograph, iris scan and fingerprints of all 10 fingers. You can also use your biometrics for Aadhaar authentication at many places especially wherever financial transactions have to be carried out in person. Aadhaar biometrics are used for carrying out banking transactions at micro ATMs under the Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS) facility provided by NPCI. Aadhaar biometrics are also used for linking bank accounts, demat accounts, mobile numbers, etc. with Aadhaar.
There have been instances where people have forged fingerprints of people and withdrawn cash in their name. Even though it is very tough to carry out such transactions, but people have been cheated through this method. The best option to prevent such transactions is by locking biometrics.
When your biometrics is locked, Aadhaar authentication cannot be performed through fingerprint authentication. Biometric locking can be done either through the UIDAI website or through the mAadhaar app. When your biometric is locked and you want to perform the authentication, you will have to unlock your biometrics first. Your biometrics is unlocked for 10 minutes during which you can authenticate. The biometrics gets locked automatically after 10 minutes post which biometric authentication is not approved. Thus, even if somebody has forged your fingerprints, he cannot use it to cheat you and carry out Aadhaar frauds.
UIDAI has provided a feature to disable the biometric lock as well. In case you do not want to lock your biometrics anymore, you can disable the biometric lock by visiting the UIDAI website. Your biometric lock will be disabled permanently and you can perform biometric authentication anytime without unlocking again and again until you lock it again. However, it is best advisable that you always keep your biometrics locked.
Aadhaar Virtual ID
Aadhaar virtual ID is a 16-digit temporary code generated against an Aadhaar number. This code can be generated through the UIDAI portal and is valid until the user generates another virtual ID again. This ID can be used in place of Aadhaar everywhere. It provides an added layer of security for Aadhaar as even the Aadhaar number of the user is shielded from others if he uses the virtual ID.
You can generate a virtual ID and share it with the agency for KYC. The agency authenticates your details using the virtual ID. Once verified, you can generate the new virtual ID the next day so that when anybody tries to access your details, he will get an unassigned virtual ID and it will be nearly impossible to track down your details after generation of the new ID.
You can track your generated virtual ID online through your Aadhaar number but it is impossible to track the Aadhaar number from the virtual ID. If you use virtual ID for Aadhaar authentication, nobody will be able to track your Aadhaar number, leave apart tracking your details. Thus, always use the virtual ID instead of your original Aadhaar number.
Aadhaar Card as an Identity Proof
Your Aadhaar card contains a lot of details and you should refrain from using your Aadhaar card as an identity proof. You can use your voter ID card, driving license or PAN card instead of your Aadhaar in hotels, trains, flights, etc. as the identity proof. Whenever you have to submit your Aadhaar for verification, you should mention the purpose of the Aadhaar card (for sim verification, rental agreement, etc.). You should also mention on the copy of the Aadhaar that the document should not be used for any other purpose in order to prevent from Aadhaar frauds.
UIDAI has already taken appropriate measures to protect your Aadhaar data from getting compromised. It is still coming up with state-of-the-art technologies to make the data breach impossible from its servers. However, the onus is also on Aadhaar holders to safeguard their details and prevent Aadhaar frauds. They can do so quite easily by adopting the above-mentioned precautionary measures.