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June 3, 2024

How to Make TEMU Forget Device Information

TEMU's rock-bottom prices ($17 wireless earbuds, $12 doorbell camera) have made it the second-most popular shopping app in the U.S. But its ties to Communist China should make you pause before hitting "Buy." The site, owned by PDD Holdings (which also owns Pinduoduo, the shopping app removed from the Google Play store for malware), claims to cut out middlemen and sell directly to consumers, which explains why it doesn't offer any refunds or exchanges. In the crowded online retail landscape, it's tempting to take advantage of a deal that seems too good to be true, but you should always consider the risks involved.

Whenever you sign in to a website or app, it usually captures personal information about you including your phone number and email address. But Temu goes even further than other apps, grabbing information about your location and device. It also wants to see your contacts, photos and social media accounts. That's not a bad thing, in principle, but it's especially concerning when you consider the company's connection to Communist China.

Once you've linked your phone number to the Temu app, it can easily capture all of this data about you. That's why it's so important to review the privacy policies and terms of service of any app you use before installing.

You should also keep in mind that many app developers will give you the option to remove your phone number from the app, which can be a good idea for privacy reasons. However, you'll lose the convenience of SMS-based account verification, which can be a hassle if you ever need to restore an account.

The best way to keep Temu from knowing your phone number is to delete it from the app or switch to a different one. For instance, you could link your phone number to a friend's or family member's number that you trust or even a virtual number such as Google Voice or Skype.

You can also try clearing the app's data from your device settings, uninstalling the app and then reinstalling it. This will reset your Temu experience and make it look like you're a new user. This method is a bit risky, but it's an effective alternative to switching phones or using an identity theft protection service that monitors your personal information for breaches. It can alert you if your home title, Social Security number and credit card details appear in breached websites or apps, such as Temu, so you can take quick action to protect yourself.