What happens if you lose your Aadhaar card? What if a fraudster catches hold of it? Can they misuse it to open a bank account in your name?
The questions are many. This article aims to answer some of them.
First off, breathe. The UIDAI stipulates that one cannot open a bank account by furnishing or submitting a physical Aadhaar Card or its photocopy.
This is in line with the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005, and Reserve Bank of Indian circulars. According to these, a bank, before opening an account, has to follow processes of verification that include biometric data or OTP authentication.
The UIDAI further adds how other diligence processes need to be followed by a bank before an Aadhaar Card can be accepted for banking transactions or KYC.
So, as per the rules, no fraudster can open a bank account with your name using your Aadhaar details without verification through biometric or OTP.
But even if by some loophole in the system or twist of fate, a fraudster is able to open a bank account using your Aadhaar details, the bank will be held responsible for the loss, adds UIDAI.
Is this not assurance enough for the security of your Aadhaar Card? If this is not enough, a Masked Aadhaar Card could help you secure your details.
What is a masked Aadhaar card?
According to a Financial Express report, ‘Masked Aadhaar’ is an option that allows you to cover or mask the12-digit unique identity number in your downloaded Aadhaar or e-Aadhaar card. This may be helpful in situations where you feel uncomfortable sharing your Aadhaar number when required or when you only need to use it as an identity proof.
This password-protected electronic copy of Aadhaar is digitally signed by UIDAI.
For those who have doubts about the validity of the e-Aadhaar, note that it is equal to the physical copy of the Aadhaar, as per the Aadhaar Act.
How is the masked Aadhaar different?
Using the ‘Masked Aadhaar’ option allows you to mask the 12-digit identity number such that only the last four digits will be shown.
It is important to note that demographic information like your photograph and the QR code will still be displayed.
But it is a safer option than carrying a physical copy of your Aadhaar or a photocopy, which is under a bigger threat of being misplaced or stolen and misused.
How to download a Masked Aadhaar card?
For this, you have to avail the e-Aadhaar facility on the UIDAI website. And choose between the ‘Regular’ and ‘Masked’ Aadhaar.
According to the Economic Times, you can download your e-Aadhaar in three ways.
You can use a 28-digit enrolment number along with full name and pin code. You can either opt for an OTP to be sent to your registered mobile number or use the TOTP (time-bound OTP) to download e-Aadhaar. The TOTP can be generated using the mAadhaar mobile application.
Similarly, you can download e-Aadhaar by using the 12 digit Aadhaar number along with full name and pin code. Again, you will be sent an OTP on your registered mobile number. You may also use a TOTP to download e-Aadhaar, which can be generated using the mAadhaar mobile app.
Thirdly, you can also download the masked Aadhaar using your 16-digit Virtual ID number.
In an era where data theft is on the rise, the masked Aadhaar could be one small step towards securing your data.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)