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Truecaller apologises users for the UPI bug, denies reading SMS for credit score

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Last week, an update was rolled out to the Android version of the Truecaller app. Users who switched to this new version (10.41.6) found that the app was automatically creating UPI accounts for ICICI Bank, without their consent. This triggered a huge privacy concern. Some reports also suggested that Truecaller was reading SMS messages and using the data from it to create credit scoring without the permission of the users.

Upon complaint from users, Truecaller responded in a statement that this issue was being caused by a bug in the update and it withdrew the update. The company also de-registered all users who were automatically signed up for UPI.

Truecaller app on Android.

Now, a week later, Truecaller CEO Alan Mamedi has responded. In a tweet, he posted last evening, Mamedi addresses Truecaller users and the issue at hand, on behalf of himself and co-founder Nami Zarringhalam.

To our Truecaller community: This is what happened last week with our thoughts, and way forward. pic.twitter.com/lNbq5Mgw6v

— Alan Mamedi (@AlanMamedi) August 6, 2019

TL;DR: Truecaller co-founders apologise for the “bug in the code” of the update. He writes, “We all at Truecaller feel bad this even happened in the first place”. He says that the update was rolled out to only one percent of Truecaller users, of which the UPI bug affected only 0.12 percent users in India.

Mamedi also writes that while the UPI account set up was initiated by this bug, however, none of the users were asked to “verify their debit card or enter an OTP or create a UPI pin, which means that the process never finished.”

He also clarified about the credit scoring. He says that Truecaller only looks at users’ transactional messages and that’s also only when the user applies for a loan. Truecaller recently introduced loans as a part of Truecaller Pay offerings.

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