September 2019: On a regular Sunday morning, serial entrepreneur Aditya Vuchi went shopping for some accessories at a large global sporting retail chain in Hyderabad. At the checkout, he was told that it was mandatory to share his phone number to complete the transaction. This got him thinking about all the other instances where he had to share his phone number—while buying or selling something online, property listing, at networking events, college reunions and others. After 23 dairy-free coffees, he decided to do something to protect personal mobile numbers from the abuse of privacy rights by brands, companies and marketers. “I wanted to have a number that cared for my privacy, not just block spammers. Thus was born Doosra.”
April 2021: “Been looking for plasma donors and my number has been around in some groups and stories. I have fielded calls from men asking me if I am single, if I can share photos, my DP is nice etc. and 1 ‘friend’ who said he’d help if ‘at least now you go on a date with me’. Some men are DISGUSTING,” tweeted Shasvathi Siva from Mumbai recently. Such incidents pushed Vuchi to provide a free six-month plan for Covid-19 volunteers, especially women, who get harassed with obscene messages all the time. “Currently, mobile numbers allow all calls by default.
We have turned that concept on its head; and the Doosra number blocks all calls by default. Only those callers that you have whitelisted as a trusted contact or service, can reach out to you. All other calls are blocked and go straight to voicemail and you can decide later, whether to call them back or not. This distinction is important; since it means even if anyone were to get a hold of your Doosra number and sold/resold it as a part of any database, telemarketers and scamsters cannot reach you, eliminating nuisance and risk of being defrauded,” he says, adding,
“This concept change ensures people can freely share a public number where needed and still have control over the communication that reaches them.” How exactly does one use the facility? Doosra, which has over 50,000 installs so far, provides a 10-digit, SIM-free virtual mobile number which users can share at any place where they are compelled to share their personal mobile numbers.
“Covid-19 warriors, especially women, may not feel safe to share their personal number. In such scenarios, the app’s number will be a helping hand for connecting with unknown people to secure information for the Covid-19 treatment, and it can be shared on public places safely too,” Vuchi adds. Doosra’s current target groups are IT/ITES workers that live in urban areas and are aware of the pitfalls of data privacy fraud, people looking to buy a car, purchase insurance online, ﬁnd a land/apartment, or get information about educational products. Aren’t these the building blocks the spam-frustrated Indian needs now?
How it works
Calls made to the Doosra number are automatically blocked. However, one can also unblock such calls manually. In the app, the user can also see who has called them on the Doosra number or whether someone has left a voicemail.