The government on Tuesday admitted that there had been incidents of money being fraudulently withdrawn from bank accounts using the customers' Aadhaar number.
As per the information, at least six such cases had been reported by four Public Sector Banks so far involving fraud of around Rs 1.5 crore, Parliament was told.
"As per data reported by Public Sector Banks (PSBs), there have been incidents of money being fraudulently withdrawn from bank accounts using the customers' Aadhaar number in a few banks," Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
He said steps had been taken to prevent such cases and action also initiated against those responsible for the reported cases.
While two cases of fraudulent mapping of Aadhaar numbers were reported in Bank of India involving a sum of Rs 1.37 crore, another two cases surfaced in Syndicate Bank involving Rs 2.26 lakh.
In both cases surfacing in the Bank of India, the government said fraudulent mapping of Aadhaar numbers was done by business correspondents or staff.
"Bank has sensitised operational staff to take proper precautions by mapping Aadhaar numbers, strengthening control measures, and stepped up inspections to prevent such frauds in future. Bank has initiated disciplinary action against the erring staff," Shukla said.
In case of Syndicate Bank, the government said the amounts fraudulently withdrawn had been recovered and to prevent such cases, "the bank is verifying all Aadhaar-seeded accounts through Aadhaar authentication and has issued standard operating procedures for, and instructions for due diligence on, Aadhaar seeding".
Apart from these four cases, one case each has been reported in Allahabad Bank and UCO Bank involving Rs 1.95 lakh and Rs 0.49 lakh respectively.
Meanwhile, Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the agency that administers Aadhaar, has said plastic Aadhaar cards are unusable and prone to data theft.
The UIDAI on Tuesday said that "plastic or PVC Aadhaar smart cards are often not usable as the QR code commonly becomes dysfunctional during such unauthorised printing at some vendor/shop. Also, there could be a possibility of sharing Aadhaar details (personal sensitive demographic information) without informed consent with some devious elements."
The Authority further said the Aadhaar letter, its cutaway portion or downloaded versions of Aadhaar on ordinary paper or mAadhaar are "perfectly valid" and warned people against falling for the plastic printed Aadhaar card trap, as the vendors charge anywhere between Rs 50 to Rs 300 or more.
“So-called Aadhaar Smart card is totally unnecessary and a waste as during such printing its QR code often becomes dysfunctional. The Aadhaar card or the downloaded Aadhaar card printed on ordinary paper or mAadhaar is perfectly valid for all kind of uses,” said Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO, UIDAI.
A lost Aadhaar card can be download free of cost from https://eaadhaar.uidai.gov.in. The print out of the downloaded Aadhaar card, even in black and white form, is as valid as the original Aadhaar letter sent by UIDAI, it said.
"UIDAI has cautioned unauthorized Agencies not to collect Aadhaar information from general public for printing of Aadhaar card as collecting such information or unauthorized printing of Aadhaar card or aiding such persons in any manner amounts to a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment under Indian Penal Code and Aadhaar Act, 2016," UIDAI said in the statement.