The need for government-issued documents is quite extensive and the most common of them is meeting the KYC requirements of various public and private organizations. For such KYC requirements or verifications, we often provide our PAN Card or Aadhaar Card without any second thought. We often hear about the misuse of such documents but never suspect it to happen to us. This is one of our biggest mistakes as there have been many documented cases where the photocopy of the Aadhaar card has been gravely misused and the cardholder is left to face the consequences of the same. To resolve these issues, the Aadhaar issuing authority has urged the Aadhaar cardholders to use masked Aadhaar.
Given below is the meaning of masked Aadhaar and how it can be used to prevent any misuse of this important document.
What is an Aadhaar Number and why is it important?
Aadhaar Card was launched in the year 2009 by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Aadhaar Card was introduced with the aim to provide a unique identification number to every citizen of the country which will help them get direct benefits from all the government incentives and schemes that are introduced from time to time.
The concept of the Aadhaar Card was based on the social security number that is provided to every citizen of the US where the government benefits are directly linked and transferred to the social security number of the valid recipient. Aadhar Card has the primary details of cardholders like their name, address, gender, mobile number, date of birth, etc.
What is masked Aadhaar?
As mentioned above, the Aadhaar card holds many vital details of a person that can be misused if fallen into the wrong hands. To prevent this from happening UIDAI had issued an advisory to use masked Aadhaar in the case when there is no need to provide the complete Aadhaar number. The masked Aadhaar is the copy of the e-Aadhaar where only the last four digits of the Aadhar number are visible. This protects the crucial details of the cardholder as well as the Aadhaar number. The first 8 digits of the Aadhaar Number are displayed as ‘XXXX-XXXX and only the last four digits are displayed under masked Aadhaar.
How can masked Aadhaar prevent misuse of the document?
The masked Aadhaar can be used by cardholders as a form to meet the basic KYC requirements for various purposes like registering for mobile applications or private organizations or public organizations that do not need the complete Aadhaar Number. As per the regulations of the UIDAI, only verified and licensed entities under UIDAI are allowed to collect and permitted to store the Aadhaar Card details of a person.
Therefore, when any unlicensed or private organization (Hotels, Cinema Halls, etc.) requires a person to submit their Aadhaar for verification of their credentials or any other purpose, it is advisable to provide masked Aadhaar.
Masked Aadhaar is a password-protected document that allows cardholders to restrict access to the same and thereby protect themselves from any fraud or wrong actions of miscreants. The password for the same is the first four letters of the cardholder’s name in capital letters along with the year of birth in YYYY format.
As mentioned above, masked Aadhaar is the digital copy of the e-Aadhaar that is digitally signed by a competent authority of UIDAI. Such copy is equally valid and authentic as the physical Aadhaar card. This makes it authentic and at the same time prevents its misuse if they fall in the wrong hands. As per UIDAI, masked Aadhaar can be downloaded from the UIDAI website legally by selecting the masked Aadhar option at the time of downloading. When such masked Aadhar is shared with any third party, they will be able to see only the last four digits of the Aadhaar.
What is the process to download masked Aadhaar?
Aadhaar cardholders can get the physical copy of the Aadhar card through post after application. However, the digital copy of the masked Aadhaar can be downloaded from the website of UIDAI easily. The steps to download the same from the website are detailed below.
- The first step is to visit the official website of UIDAI (https://eaadhaar.uidai.gov.in/) and login into the same using valid credentials.
- The users can click on the ‘Send OTP’ option after entering the Aadhaar Number and the corresponding Captcha code that is displayed on the screen.
- The OTP will then be sent to the mobile number registered with the Aadhaar card with the UIDAI.
- This OTP is to be submitted in the required format and then click on ‘Login’.
- The users will then be taken to a new window where they will have to select the ‘Download Aadhaar’ option from the ‘Services’ section.
- The next step is to select the ‘Do you want a masked Aadhaar’ option from the next window. This option will be available under the ‘Review Your Demographics Data’ option.
- The final step is to click on ‘Download following the above selection.
- The masked Aadhaar can then be downloaded in PDF format and will be password protected to provide additional security to the document.
- The password for the masked Aadhaar is the first four letters of the cardholder’s name to be entered in Capital format followed by their birth year to be entered in YYYY format.
Masked Aadhaar is an important feature offered by UIDAI to protect this important document. The notification to submit masked Aadhaar was encouraged by UIDAI after there was a report of misuse of Aadhaar card from the Bengaluru office. However, the notification was later withdrawn citing concerns of misinterpretation. However, the use of masked Aadhaar especially in places that do not need submission of full Aadhaar copy should be a common practice to avoid any chance of misuse of this document.
The Aadhaar number is made of 12 digits that are randomly assigned by the UIDAI to the citizens of the country.
The masked Aadhaar displays the last four digits of the Aadhaar number to the third party while keeping the first 8 digits hidden in the XXXX-XXXX format or in asterisk (*).
The OTP for obtaining the masked Aadhaar is sent to the registered mobile number that is available in the records of the UIDAI.
Masked Aadhaar is an equally valid and authentic document like the physical copy of the Aadhaar card. It is the e-Aadhaar or the digital copy of the Aadhaar Card that is digitally signed by a competent authority of the UIDAI.