Given the fact that Aadhaar today has become a quintessential document, it is important to know that one should be very careful when it comes to disclosing Aadhaar number to others.
Since the 12-digit national identification number is integrated with bank account, pension account and a host of other accounts, it is imperative to be aware of the pitfalls of making the document public.
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has found a way to protect data privacy of Aadhaar holders by introducing a concept called masked Aadhaar.
If you have to share your Aadhaar with others, than instead of giving away the actual 12-digit Aadhaar number, share the ‘Masked Aadhaar ID’ or Virtual ID (VID) — a 16-digit number that can be shared without disclosing personal information.
About masked Aadhaar
A masked Aadhaar lets you mask (cover) the first 8-digits of your Aadhaar number, while the other 4 digits remain visible. One need not worry about the acceptability of a masked Aadhaar or VID because this card is signed by UIDAI.
Also read: Here’s how to check SIM cards registered under your Aadhaar ID
A VID is a good option where you have to provide Aadhaar only as an identity proof. It is also an acceptable way of verifying your photo along with the last 4 digits of the unique ID.
Not disclosing the actual 12-digit Aadhaar greatly reduces the risk of misuse.
Know how to download masked Aadhaar
Step 1: Open the link – https://eaadhaar.uidai.gov.in/
Step 2: Enter your full 12-digit Aadhaar card number.
Step 3: Tick the option that reads – ‘I want a masked Aadhaar’.
Step 4: Next you need to input the Captcha verification code that will be provided to verify yourself.
Step 5: Click on the option ‘Send OTP’.
Step 6: Now, all that is left is for you to download the e-Aadhaar copy.
The Virtual ID (VID) can be used as many times as one needs. Do note that the agency that receives your VID as identity proof also gets your eKYC information, which is same as your Aadhaar card would provide. The advantage is that no one can get your Aadhaar number from such a document nor it can be traced.