How Truecaller Goes Through Your SMS Inbox To See If You Need A Loan
According to Nemo, Truecaller uses third-party Software Development Kits (SDKs) to parse through its users’ phone messages to do an offline credit scoring for each user. Specific words or phrases that these SDKs look for in user’s messages include 356 terms like salary, credit, debit, bounced, cheque, premium, insurance, along with retailer names such as reliance fresh, metro cash and carry, grofers, uber, irctc, Indigo, Airbnb among others.
Nemo told Inc42, “Truecaller FAQs clearly state that for checking one’s eligibility, a user has to simply look under the banking tab of Truecaller app and in order to determine someone’s credit eligibility, Truecaller have to be scoring all its users.”
However, in response to our query, Truecaller said, “For loans, we explicitly ask users who wish to apply for a loan, to give us permission to analyse their transaction messages (only). The process is completely consent based and is separate from the general SMS permission that is required at the time of login to provide spam detection in SMS Inbox.”
Behind Truecaller’s snooping seems to be a company called MessAI, which claims to have been acquired by Truecaller in April 2019. Interestingly, Nemo claimed that this update on the MessAI website was put up only today, following his tweetstorm of July 31.