Frequent warnings by banks and police are apparently not the solution to combating debit/credit card fraud. The Hindu reports that Cyber Cell officials in Kerala’s Kozhikode district are discovering three new cases every month on average. The victims are usually educated middle-class families or the elderly, and many are yet to recover the amounts lost. These include cases where callers approached customers in the name of linking Aadhaar number and address update. Most of the complainants lost their money from the bank account when they revealed the one-time password (OTP) received on their mobile phones.
Aadhaar-enabled financial fraud has been on the rise ever since linking Aadhaar to bank accounts was mandated by the government, and re-verification of mobile connections using Aadhaar ordered by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. While there have been sensational individual cases, such as the theft of Rs. 4.08 lakh from an engineer in Nagpur, and of Rs.1.3 lakh from a Mumbai resident, there are also serious system breaches such as the theft of pensions to the tune of Rs. 40 lakh from 300 pensioners under Telangana’s Asara Pension Health Scheme and the Airtel Payments Bank Scam.Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also highlighted this issue in his response to Parliament earlier this year, talking about five cases of Aadhaar-enabled fraudulent withdrawals, totaling about Rs.4.2 lakh, from Andhra Bank and Syndicate bank accounts.
These cases prove that the UIDAI is lying through its teeth when it says the demographic data leaked from Aadhaar breaches cannot be misused without biometrics.
It is not just the Kozhikode police struggling though – Scroll.in reported in October last year of the Delhi & NOIDA police’s struggles with an Aadhaar-enabled bank fraud; with similar news from Kolkata in December. It appears that Aadhaar, far from improving transparency and minimizing possibility for financial crime, will on the contrary result in police departments needing a separate Aadhaar offences cell – provided that the UIDAI gives permission (per Section 47(1) of the Aadhaar Act) to investigate such cases.