Aadhaar Card is an important document for Indians, which is considered a proof of residence. More than 1.2 billion people have enrolled for Aadhaar as of October last year, making it the world's largest biometric ID system. Any Aadhaar cardholder must ensure the safekeeping of the government-issued document to prevent serious frauds.
Just like any personal identification document, misuse of Aadhaar card can lead to terrible consequences. A 34-year-old techie became a victim of Aadhaar fraud, which turned his life into a "living hell."
Ameya Dhapre, an engineer based in Girgaon (Mumbai, Maharashtra), shared his ordeal of Aadhaar fraud. Three years after he'd enrolled for Aadhaar, his troubles started. From being unable to open a bank account to police knocking on his door, Dhapre witnessed it all - and all of it because some miscreant had posted a photo of his Aadhaar card on the internet, Mumbai Mirror reported.
The harassment complaint
Dhapre became a suspect in a case of harassing a woman over the phone. When police tracked the number with which the complainant was receiving calls, they found it belonged to Dhapre. The perpetrator, in this case, had used Dhapre's Aadhaar card copy to complete KYC and get a phone number in his name.
After the incident, Dhapre did not file a complaint thinking it was a one-off misunderstanding. But little did he know it was just the beginning of his troubles.
Unable to open bank account
When Dhapre wanted to open a joint account with his father and furnished his Aadhaar card. The bank did not accept Dhapre's Aadhaar card as it was linked to another bank account. He raised a complaint with the bank, informing them that his Aadhaar card had been misused.
People showing up at his door
Dhapre also revealed that fraudsters had been using his Aadhaar number to open an account on shopping website to dupe people with the promise of selling them branded gadgets. But the victims who fell for the fraud started to show up at Dhapre's door and creating havoc. According to the report, people demanded their money back from Dhapre and even gave stern warnings.
"In October, a man from Bhiwandi came to my home claiming that I had taken Rs 17,000 from him for an iPhone but had never given him the gadget. It was only when I explained everything in detail to him that the man calmed down and left," Dhapre said.
Aadhaar photo on Google
When Dhapre decided to search his name on Google, he found to his surprise that a copy of his Aadhaar had been posted on several websites. This was how fraudsters got hold of Dhapre's Aadhaar card and carried out multiple frauds and criminal acts.
Dhapre tried to solve the matter by raising a complaint and even asking UIDAI for assistance. But he was only met with dead ends. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) said the Aadhaar number could not be changed and he was asked to cancel his Aadhaar enrolment.
"I approached UIDAI but they have no way of changing someone's Aadhaar number. They said I should deactivate my account but that is not a solution. They wanted me to lodge a complaint for every single fraudulent transaction. That is an impossible task. They need to have a better solution to my problem as I am suffering for no fault of my own," Dhapre said.
Dhapre also filed a complaint at the cybercrime police station at Bandra-Kurla Complex, but his case remains unsolved.
"My life has become hell. I receive at least two or three authentication-failure emails a day, apart from several anonymous calls and messages, which indicate that people are trying to use my Aadhaar somewhere. Jharkhand, Punjab, Haryana... the list is endless. I also have a toddler at home and random men turning up my home every day, sometimes in my absence, is scary," Dhapre said.