Another scam: Aadhaar linking fraud

4 min read
Aadhaar linking fraud

Another message for the public service is making its rounds in various WhatsApp chats and groups, this one warning people of the fraud being conducted apparently using the name of telecommunication companies requesting Aadhaar number and an OTP that a person would receive upon sharing details of the 12-digit Unique Identification number. It has been brought to notice that all bank accounts linked to the Aadhaar number were wiped clean by the people committing the fraud.

These people claim to be calling from telecommunication companies like Airtel, Vodafone, etc., and are taking advantage of the confusion of the innocent people. With the linking of Aadhaar number going on with bank accounts, PAN cards, and many other services, some people might believe the scam to be true. Everyone is advised to not heed to these scams and not share any personal details over the phone.

Officials at the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) have confirmed the calls to be a scam and have advised people to visit the bank branches and retail outlets of telecommunication companies to get any seeding or linking done. The CEO of UIDAI, AB Pandey, said that it is best for people to ignore such calls and that no genuine party would ever ask for such details over the phone.

A spokesperson for Airtel, which is India’s largest telecommunication services provider, has confirmed that the company has made no such calls and if people want any linking of their Aadhaar number, they should visit a retail outlet.

Banks have always maintained a policy of not asking for personal information over the phone and have again advised their customers not to share any sort of OTPs with anyone over the phone. They have issued public service messages informing that they do not seek any sensitive information over the phones.

A cyber security expert and ethical hacker, Saket Modi, has confirmed that providing anyone with an Aadhaar number is no risk and is similar to giving out your e-mail address. He has strictly advised against providing the OTP part. He is the founder of Lucideus, which is one of the companies that have made sure that the government’s Aadhaar linked payments application BHIM is safe and secure to use. He has said that writing a code for creating an automated voice is quite easy and is already available in the market, codes that could be tweaked by cyber terrorists and criminals to their use.

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