Stay away from Truecaller app
If you have a smart phone, you must have heard of the Truecaller app. Truecaller is a multipurpose call management app which is primarily used for identifying and blocking unknown incoming calls. Prima facie, it sounds like an amazing idea for us to know the real identity of an unknown caller. With truecaller app, you can identify any caller, you can just ignore him or block the number. It is a nice feature However, once you know the functioning of Truecaller app, you will be stunned to know how this app is stealing our personal information and sharing with others. So, stay away from Truecaller app.
How does Truecaller work?
Truecaller, developed by the Swedish company True Software Scandinavia AB, is a crowd sourced application. When installed, it collects the contact information from your mobile device and uploads them to their servers. The app does the same thing with millions of other Truecaller users. By this way, Truecaller creates a huge database of users and their connected information. Now, Truecaller uses the same data to provide you the information about unknown numbers. That is why, this is called a crowd sourced software.
After collecting the user information, Truecaller applies latest data churning tools to analyze the data and make meaningful correlation between them. For example, there is a number which is used by a telecaller for promotional activities and this number is tagged as a Spam number by most of the Truecaller users. Whenever, you receive any call from that number, Truecaller will display this as “Spam”. Internally, Truecaller contacts its servers as soon as you receive any call and fetch the number detail. Have you ever wondered that Truecaller fails to show you the number detail when you are offline.
Why shall you stay away from Truecaller?
Crowd sourced software are not a bad thing. The main concern with Truecaller is the privacy issue. You have no idea what all personal information it collects from your phone. We wrongly assume that the app merely collects our name and phone number however, Truecaller actually copies much more than we can imagine. And, it is rightly mentioned on its website. When You install and use the Services, Truecaller will collect personal information from You and any devices where you are using their service.
What personal data Truecaller copies?
According to Truecaller website, it collects the following personal data from your mobile phone:-
Your first name, last name;
Your IP address;
device-ID or unique identifier;
Device manufacturer and type;
Device and hardware settings;
SIM card usage;
Applications installed on your device;
ID for advertising;
Default communication applications;
Access to device address book;
Keywords and meta data of incoming and outgoing calls and messages;
Google ID’s and email addresses will be collected and used from Your address book.
Is there any personal data which is left out? Why does Truecaller collect information about your gender, your device log, screen resolution and your call logs at the first place? Truecaller just needs your name and phone number to make its database. That too is undesirable and highly dangerous, according to me(my personal opinion).
There is more to it. Truecaller even uploads your contacts or phone book to its server. Stay away from Truecaller app.
What does Truecaller do with this huge database?
It’s an open secret. When you login to Truecaller app for the first time, you have to login with your Facebook, Yahoo or Gmail credential. Once you register, all your contacts are synchronized or uploaded to Truecaller server. And, if you register with your mobile number, your complete address book is uploaded to the app’s site. The Swedish app earns by ad displayed on the app screen and primarily by sharing the phone numbers. You can pay a small amount and become a premium Truecaller user. Now, you can search anyone’s number by entering his/her name in the app. Isn’t it a security threat to make your phone number open for everyone? Any one can pay a meager amount to know a girl’s number and stalk her.
How to minimize the threat without uninstalling the app?
I will suggest you to UNINSTALL the Truecaller app right away. It is better to be safe than sorry. just for the sake of identifying a few spam numbers, you are making yourself open to spammers and criminals.
Still, you want to continue using Truecaller, you can do the following to minimize the risk:-
Delist your number from Truecalller – You can unlist your phone number from the app anytime however, it will not delete your database from the app. It will just deactivate your account. Go to Truecaller Android app and go to setting. Click on Privacy Center.
Another way to use Truecaller and still protect your privacy –
While installing Truecaller, don’t use your real name, use a fake profile instead. There is no way the app will know your real name. Even if hundreds of your colleagues save your contact by your real name, Truecaller will still display the fake name opted by you. The app always gives higher priority to the name opted by the owner himself, no matter what others have given. That means, if you have saved your contact number in Truecaller profile as Mr. x, Truecaller will always display your number to others as Mr. X. This way you can hide your real identity and still can take advantage of Truecaller’s facility. I am using this trick for last 3 years.
Prevent others to search for your detail –
You can enjoy the Truecaller app and still prevent others to search for your name in the app. Even if someone searches for your detail, he needs your permission to see your phone number.
Go to settings -> Privacy Center -> Who can see my Truecaller profile? Here, you can change the setting so that whenever a user wants to see your phone number, truecaller will seek your permission before disclosing the details.
If you think that I have missed anything here, please do let me know.