By Siddhi Jain
September 19, 2020 (IANSlife) For a celebrity, it’s not uncommon to receive fan calls and messages, which can be quick to spam. Indian actress Samantha Akkineni says that over the years, she has stopped speaking over phone due to unwanted calls, and even her friends and family have to message her. "I’m not comfortable with picking up calls because every second or third call is somebody I don’t know, who has my number, who shouldn’t," she told IANSlife.
"Even for the food delivery agents, if you want your food delivered and if you don’t want to go hungry that night, you have to give your phone number. And I got so many calls, after my food was delivered, I got follow-up calls like 'are you really Samantha? Is this Samantha’s number?' Then the next day seven others call because he would have shared the number with his friends, because its fun to talk about. So it spreads and I can't even count the number of times I had to change my phone number because of this. But, then again what option do you have?" the Telugu and Tamil star shared in a video interview.
Samantha reveals that she recently activated her Doosra number, which is a 10-digit, SIM-free mobile number, which users can share at any place where they are compelled to share their personal mobile number including on digital platforms. All incoming calls to the Doosra number are either automatically blocked or sent to voicemail or let through depending on the User’s settings and preferences on Doosra app. All the incoming messages are silently placed in the Messages folder on the app and can be reviewed at leisure. This helps users protect their number from endless spam calls and messages, continuous attempts of scam, phishing, fraud, non-stop harassment by strangers, and constant violation of privacy by brands.
"This is something that is need of the hour. With our numbers going everywhere, our personal information goes everywhere, it thankfully now one feels that you are protected and whoever you want to give your number to i.e. your friends and your family, are the only ones to have access to you."
She ties it to feeling safer and secure as a woman. "Suddenly, you feel a lot more protected as a woman."
Samantha added, "sometimes I get messages on my phone saying someone is trying to type your password. It’s all because my number is out there, it’s exposed. My number is connected to all my social media accounts. And I remember this time where I got this message just before I was taking off in a flight and the flight was like three hours and for those three hours I was petrified because I didn’t have the time to go and change the password or tell my agent or do anything. I was there and I had to switch off the phone and I was thinking what photos are going to go out, what are they going to do with my account? That’s all I was thinking about for three hours and that’s nerve wrecking."
The actress also crosses 12 million followers on Instagram this week. This is what she has to say about online trolling: "There are gods and then there are demons. It’s a part and parcel of social media. They need somebody to love and they need someone to hate."
Doosra Founder and CEO, Aditya Vuchi, shared what prompted the idea to came into being. "I went to a sporting goods store, bought my products, went to the billing counter and said that I'd like to pay with my credit card or cash. They said we need your mobile number. I was like, why do you need my mobile number? I am buying a product and I am giving you the money. The transaction has ended. But no, they said unless we have your mobile number, we cannot generate a bill. I thought, this not the way it needs to be."
Doosra is a virtual mobile number that can be shared anywhere and with anyone, instead of a personal mobile number to avoid spam, unknown callers, circulation, and theft of personal information.
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Siddhi Jain can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org