Truecaller – Jamming the Scam Calls

06 Dec,2021

 

 

By Prabhakar Mundkur

 

Prabhakar MundkurPerhaps in any other country, Truecaller would not exist. Because other countries respect the privacy of their citizens. I recently spent a month in the UK and my family did not get even one unsolicited call.

 

Unfortunately, in our country, all our details are an open book. We all no doubt get at least a few scam calls a day. If they are not scam, they are at least greedy marketers who are aggressively calling you to sell their wares. I have noticed a new trend now. Some of calls are mechanised and as soon as I pick up the odd unknown caller, a pre-recorded voice is trying to sell me something. These recorded calls in many ways are the most irritating because you can’t be rude and insult the mechanical voice as you can do with a real person at the other end.

 

It is not only our phone numbers that are available freely. Our car registration numbers are available not only on the official Government app Parivahan but on a score of other private apps. At least the government app tries to hide the complete details of your name, but the private apps don’t even bother to do that.

 

If that were not enough, our car insurance details are also an open book. I get a score of emails from various insurance companies every time my car insurance is nearing its expiry date. Recently, I read about a well-known person who got scammed on life insurance. The victim had an insurance policy that had lapsed in 2014. The scam caller called the victim and offered to not only reinstate his policy but offered to redeem the policy, trapping the victim who could naturally do with a little more money. It is only when he reached the end of the call and the scammer started asking for his bank details and offered him an OTP did the victim realise that it was a scam call. These activities are being done openly in our country in spite of the fact that both telephone calls and insurance have government entities supervising the industry – IRDA for Insurance and the TRAI on telecom. It is strange that these government bodies are doing nothing to protect the privacy of the Indian citizen.

 

But coming back to Truecaller. I was in the UK and I must have received at least 30 scam calls. Thank you Truecaller because I would immediately get the notification that they were scam calls and I could safely leave them alone.

 

 

 

 

Though no one is writing much about it, I also like the Truecaller advertising. For one, it is entertaining. And they seem to have proved me wrong that Indian advertising has lost its humour. Truecaller uses humour to show how the app can frustrate the scammer. It also demonstrates the stages of the scam and makes fun of the account numbers and OTPs that scammers normally demand as the call progresses. Some of you may remember how Netflix exposed the entire process that scamsters employ in their movie on Jamtara – Sab Ka Number Ayega. 

 

Truecaller has in some ways also exposed the process of the seamster but with a humorous twist. I particularly liked their Diwali ads. I believe scam calls are at their highest during the festival seasons because this is when most people are looking for deals and are therefore most vulnerable.

 

I also thought that their sign-off line is quite interesting Scam ka Jam is quite appropriate.

Well done, Truecaller. Here is wishing you the best in protecting Indian citizens from scams.

 

 

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