If you have received the viral message tell you how Google has inadvertently added the UIDAI helpline number and it can steal data from your smartphone, here’s what you need to know.

Last week, Google admitted about its “inadvertent” act of adding the UIDAI helpline number by coding it into Android smartphones along with 112 distress number. Google actually added the number 18003001947 in 2014 and has since been continuing through sync mechanism in all Android phones sold and bought in India. The news led to spread of viral rumoured messages on social media and WhatsApp about how the Aadhaar helpline number has been added to Android devices without consent and it can potentially steal data from mobile phones.

Trashing such rumours by calling them fake and intended to “tarnish the image of Aadhaar”, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) clarified that the helpline number was safe and does not steal any data. The Aadhaar authority actually issued a statement saying that the “rumour mongers attempted to tarnish the image of Aadhaar” for an inadvertent mistake of internet major Google that led to appearance of its old helpline number 1800-300-1947 in contact list of several mobile phone users. Condemning the act of spreading fake rumours, UIDAI clarified that it had not asked any agency to include the UIDAI helpline number in mobile phones.

The statement also assured that just by adding a phone number in a mobile phone’s contact list, the data on the phone cannot be stolen and even though it was a mistake by Google, it is completely safe. Furthermore, UIDAI also urged that deleting the number is not required, but since it is an old helpline number, people can update it with UIDAI’s new helpline number 1947 – if they wish to. So, the number has been added without consent, but it is not malicious.

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