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India continues its fight against Aadhaar fraud

India continues its fight against Aadhaar fraud

India is trying to fight rampant Aadhaar fraud by compelling government institutions to improve their processes and launching crackdowns on scammers.

After a petitioner filed a complaint against a person who created an encumbrance on their land using forged documents, a court in India instructed the Department of Stamps and Registration to register itself as a service provider of Aadhaar digital authentication services.

To move is meant to help verify identities during document registration to avoid fraud using forged Aadhaar cards, The Hindu reports. The Department is responsible for registering different transactions, most importantly property transactions.

The High Court of the southern Indian state of Karnataka has also directed the Inspector General of Registration to prepare within four weeks a project report on the registration with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the agency in charge of the 12-digit unique identity number assigned to Indian residents based on biometrics and demographic data.

In January, the country started piling more pressure on tax authorities in several states to curb evasion and fraudulent registrations.

Police hunting down cyberthieves accessing biometric data

In Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka, police have arrested a network of seven people for over 120 crimes connected to the Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS).

The cybercriminals were reportedly accessing biometric data from government online land records with the help of Aadhaar card numbers. They would then sell the data for at least 5,000 rupees (US$60.30) per set to fraudsters who would replicate the thumb onto a silicone rubber sheet. Using the fake thumbprints, the gang stole hundreds of thousands of rupees from the accounts of Karnataka-based property owners using the AePS to access the money on POS machines, according to The South First.

Karnataka’s Police Department had recently instructed the state’s Revenue Department to beef up the cybersecurity system for the Karnataka government’s property registration portal Kaveri, which holds thumb impressions of owners.

“The number of new such cases has gone down significantly after the changes,” says Bengaluru City Police’s Northeast Division Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) BS Laxmi Prasad.

Indians withdraw around 10 billion rupees a day through the AePS payment service, which allows a bank customer to use Aadhaar as their identity to access their bank account and perform basic banking transactions. AePS accounted for 11 percent of online financial scams during 2023, according to the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)

In December last year, the National Payments Corporation of India, the agency in charge of AePS, notified banks to increase security against scammers.

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